There’ve been lots of interesting announcements in today’s WWDC Keynote address, but from a business strategy point of view the most interesting one is something Eddie Cue glossed over quickly: Apple’s new and improved Siri will feature Bing search results.
Bing? Yes, that’s Microsoft’s search engine. And of course it makes perfect sense. Bing is, qua technology, a totally fine search engine. I’m not sure it’s exactly as good as Google search, but it isn’t obviously worse either. And yet while Google web search is a profit machine, Bing loses money. Basically Microsoft needs to get more people to use Bing, since if they started using it they’d likely find it satisfactory. And at the same time, Bing’s competitor is made by Google which is Apple’s main competitor in terms of smartphone operating systems. So an Apple/Microsoft alliance via Bing is perfectly natural. And yet it still feels awfully weird.
I’m reminded of the Diplomatic Revolution of 1756 when Britain stopped collaborating with Austria and started allying with Prussia. For now, though, Google still gets a ton of mobile search by being the default search engine on Mobile Safari. The Siri switch to Bing seems to foretell a future in which that deal isn’t renewed.