“Microsoft has done a real nice job on this,” Jobs reportedly told the audience during his keynote address, according to live blogs of the event. However, Google will remain the default search engine.
Earlier this year, rumors circulated that Microsoft and Apple were in discussions over making Bing the iPhone’s default search engine. “Apple and Google know the other is their primary enemy,” an unnamed source “familiar with the matter” told BusinessWeek on 20 Jan. “Microsoft is now a pawn in that battle.”
When previously contacted for confirmation of those talks, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the company “does not comment on rumors or speculation.”
Microsoft Pawn in Mobile battle
Porting Bing onto the iPhone would likely allow Microsoft to gain some additional market share in the mobile search-engine space, which is currently dominated by Google. According to analytics firm StatCounter, Google occupied some 97.83 percent of the global mobile search-engine market by June 7, with Yahoo claiming 1.19 percent and Bing following in third with 0.38 percent. In the U.S., those numbers were virtually identical: Google held 97 percent, followed by Yahoo with 1.9 percent and Bing with 0.75 percent.
Other firms have presented a somewhat cheerier outlook, with Nielsen estimating at the beginning of the year that around 86 percent of U.S. mobile searchers used Google, followed by 11 percent for Bing.
Even before Google CEO Eric Schmidt stepped down from Apple’s board of directors in August 2009, though, both Apple and Google seemed pitted to do battle in the smartphone arena. Research firm Gartner has predicted that Google Android will become the second-most-popular mobile OS in the world by 2010, surpassing the iPhone, and the operating system has already seen its market-share rise on a tide of devices from HTC and other manufacturers. That sort of competitive prospect could very well have Jobs, along with his executive team, searching for any way to blunt Google’s momentum.
Expanding Bing Brand
For its part, Microsoft has recognised the importance of expanding its Bing brand onto the popular iPhone platform. As far back as August 2009, the company delivered a Bing iPhone and Mac software development kit (SDK) for download on its CodePlex community development site. That SDK provided the ability to easily query Bing from within a Cocoa or Cocoa Touch application, perform synchronous and asynchronous queries, and search Bing for Web, Image, Video, News and Phonebook results.
During a talk at AllThingsDigital’s D8 conference on 1 June, Jobs dismissed ideas of launching Apple into the search-engine arena. “We have no plans to go into the search business,” he told an audience. “We don’t care about it—other people do it well.” His intention, it seems, is to let Microsoft and Google battle for mobile dominance; although Apple’s recent purchase of semantic search company Siri, suggests that another game may be afoot, despite those denials.
Google AdWords Business Product Management Director Nicholas Fox gave a keynote speech at Search Engine Strategies. He talked about where the search industry is going, and where it’s been.
On the history of AdWords, he says Google quickly realized that banner ads didn’t make sense with search, sow they tried the text ad, and it has worked pretty well. Google is now running over a billion text ad auctions a day.
Fox says there are about 100 billion pages on the web, 500 billion images on the web, and 20 hours of video uploaded every minute. After mentioning the bid simulator, which we covered recently, he said that search advertising is really still about three things:
2. Text Ads
3. Cost per click
The next search revolution is beginning though according to Fox. He notes that innovation is coming from all kinds of places, and to users it means better quality and relevant ads. For advertisers, it means better results, he says.
According to Fox, it’s going beyond keywords, and Google is looking at all kinds of ways to make search better. The company is looking at matching information about your product or service and automatically building ads based on crawling your website.