Wild Testimony Reveals Apple Mulled Buying Bing To Challenge Google

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The drama surrounding Google's antitrust suit continues to escalate as unsealed testimony reveals Apple almost decided to buy Bing to compete with Google in the lucrative search engine market. The unsealed testimony came from Apple Senior Vice President John Giannandrea.

Apple lawyers had attempted to negate the need for Giannandrea to testify, along with trying to keep most of the details about Apple's dealings with Google sealed based on the grounds of trade secrets. However, a Washington, DC, court unsealed the testimony following a public outcrying that too much of the case was being kept secret. Giannandrea's testimony provided more context into why Apple and other companies signed deals with the tech giant instead of competing against it.

Giannandrea testified that Apple had mulled over buying Microsoft's Bing to compete with Google, and even thought about launching its own search engine. The exec said Apple met with Microsoft in 2018 to discuss possibly purchasing the Bing search engine. The Bing acquisition, a joint venture with Microsoft, and other options were shown to Apple CEO Tim Cook via a slide deck during that time.

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One of the other options included Apple creating its own search engine. The Cupertino-based company had already had moderate success from its Safari search engine "intercepting" queries meant for Google's search engine.

"The way I think about it is that we are getting the first bite at the apple, so to speak," Giannandrea commented on the stand. "We're intercepting every query you're trying to do and trying to decide whether we can help."

What ended up happening, however, is Apple deciding to take a bigger bite of the proverbial apple and agree to the deal with Google. Equity research firm Sanford Bernstein has estimated that the bite will pay Apple up to $19 billion this year.

The antitrust trial has provided a deeper insight into how Google has kept its stranglehold on the search engine market. The bottom line is that Google used its own bottom line to persuade other companies, like Apple, not to rock the boat.