Microsoft Considered Selling Bing to Facebook

Posted by on April 26, 2012

A report recently published in the New York times has confirmed prior rumors and speculation that Microsoft had attempted to sell its search engine service, Bing, to social media giant Facebook. According to the report, Microsoft executives approached Facebook with the proposal last year, without the support of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Facebook reportedly declined the offer, stating that it had other things to focus on.

This report has further reinforced suspicions that Microsoft does not consider its search engine business to be of strategic importance to the company, despite their insistence to the contrary. Microsoft and Facebook have been forging strong connections over the past few years, with the latest effort being a $550 million patents deal that allowed Facebook to acquire 650 patents that would protect them from a lawsuit filed by Yahoo.

Recent earnings reports from both Microsoft and Facebook suggest that the sale of the Bing search engine would be good for both companies. Microsoft’s Online Services division, which maintains its Bing and AdCenter products, posted a loss of $479 million in its latest earnings report, an improvement over the previous year’s performance. Meanwhile, Facebook’s recent S-1 filing reveals that their massive growth rate is starting to slow.

This has caused some to speculate that Facebook is looking to get into the Search Engine business. They have the potential to become a serious competitor to Google in the Search Advertising business, thanks to the massive amount of data on user preferences that they’ve already collected. Facebook reportedly has over 900 million web users, representing countries from all over the world.

According to reports, Google web searches accounted for over 66% of web search traffic in March.