Microsoft's bid to make Bing the default Firefox search engine
Microsoft's Bing search engine could soon become the default search engine of Mozilla's Firefox web browser.
All web browsers come with a default search engine that is used when users run searches. Browser developers like Mozilla partner with search engines. In exchange for that prime spot in the browser, search engines pay browser developers a fee. Mozilla earns hundreds of millions from its search deal with Google while Apple is raking in billions from its deal with Google.
Both deals run out later in 2023. Before the rise of AI powered search, it looked as if Google Search would remain the default search engine in Firefox and Apple's ecosystem. Now, with Bing on an all-time high thanks to Bing Chat and other advances, Microsoft is apparently considering getting a bigger piece of the search pie.
A report by The Information suggests that Microsoft plans to bid to make Bing the default search engine of the Firefox web browser. Specifics are unknown at this point, but the move could give Bing a push and chip away a few points from Google Search's dominating lead.
Switching default search engines is a complicated task. Most deals, at least those in the past, have agreed to make the new search engine the default for new users only or for users who have not changed the search engine.
Advertising revenue from Bing appears to be lower than that of Google Search, and Microsoft might have to add some spices to the deal to convince Mozilla to make Bing the default.
Microsoft could get more eyes on its Bing search engine. While a percentage of Firefox users might switch back to Google or another search engine, most might continue using the search engine that is the default in the browser.
The Information notes that Microsoft could also bid against Google to make Bing the default search engine in Apple's ecosystem. The much larger deal, Google is paying Apple billions, would give Bing a significant push and Google a worrying defeat.
Mozilla and Apple are in a good negotiation position this year. Google wants its Search engine to remain the default search engine in Firefox and also on Apple devices and products. With Microsoft bidding as well, both could end up with a better deal.
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