Bing Becomes Profitable For Microsoft

Microsoft unveiled the current iteration of their search engine, Bing, on May 28, 2009 and launched later that year on June 1st. It was the latest branding of the search engine that replaced Live Search, which had replaced Windows Live Search.

For Microsoft, this has been a long time coming. Ever since their latest rebranding, Bing, has struggled to make a profit. This is not really that surprising since with new products and services, there is always going to be a cost to get things rolling, and Microsoft has definitely paid some big costs to get where they are. However, after over 6 years of breaking into the web search market, Microsoft announced on Oct. 22nd, 2015 that Bing has finally become profitable and even mentioned that Bing alone has contributed more than $1 billion for Microsoft’s first quarter. So it seems things are starting to go well for Bing and Microsoft. Here are the reasons I think Bing is a comparable competitor to Google.

1. Bing Rewards

One of the costs that Microsoft has paid, and continue to pay, to entice people into using Bing is Bing Rewards. They basically pay you to do searches that you’re already doing…or paying you to search things just to get points. You can also earn points by doing a trivia challenge, making Bing your homepage, and bonus offers if you use the new Microsoft Edge browser. The points can be redeemed for gift cards or used as entries into sweepstakes for Microsoft products. And, in true Microsoft fashion there are two status levels, Silver and Gold. Gold level members get a 10% discount when redeeming credits for rewards.

2. Windows 10 and Cortana

With the release of Windows 10 and the integration of Cortana it has become easier for Windows users to search through Bing. The search bar at the bottom of your Windows 10 screen not only searches for files on your computer, but will also search for key words and terms through Bing (make sure you’ve got your rewards account set up). Another feature of Windows 10 is Cortana. Cortana has been available on Windows phones and tablets for a while now, but with Windows 10 everyone has access to this digital assistant. In case you didn’t know, Cortana’s answers to your questions are all provided through a Bing search. Microsoft is also using Cortana to differentiate its search engine and continue Bing’s growth. They plan to do this by creating a personal speech recognition tool and digital assistant experience that people will want take with them to any device. Their hope is that Cortana users will take the experience with them from the search bar in Windows 10 to their mobile devices, including the upcoming Cortana apps for Android and iOS.

3. Goodbye Yahoo, Hello AOL

While Yahoo hasn’t severed all ties with Bing, in April Microsoft and Yahoo announced an amendment that provided Yahoo with more “flexibility to enhance the search experience” across mobile and desktop devices. A key component in that modification is the ability for Yahoo to partner with other companies to power its search platform, as long as 51 percent of all search results are still delivered by Microsoft’s Bing. Google and Yahoo confirmed in July that they are testing a partnership that will see Google supply search results and search ads to Yahoo. While this may look like a blow to Bing, at about the same time Microsoft announced a 10-year partnership with AOL that will see Bing powered search results across the AOL portfolio of sites. In return, AOLand AppNexus became the seller of all display formats, including mobile and video, for the Microsoft portfolio across nine markets (Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States). In the long run this partnership will boost both companies and and allows Microsoft to focus on the development of the search engine instead of this one aspect of sales.

No doubt, Google is still the 300 lb gorilla in the room, but Microsoft has basically declared that it is “all in” on search. Their recent success, and the fact that they have finally been able to turn a profit is proof that they are in it for the long haul. More users switching to Windows 10 and using the pre-loaded Edge browser could be the next step in gaining market share over Google.

What do you think, have you made the switch to Bing? Leave your comments below.