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Microsoft considering 'super app' to fight Apple & Google mobile dominance


Microsoft may build an all-in-one "super app" to combine various services and fight the mobile search partnership between Apple and Google.

According to a report on Tuesday, the company has considered building an app that combines shopping, messaging, web search, news, and other services.

Microsoft executives see the app as a way to boost its advertising business and increase the foothold of Bing search. The company hopes to emulate companies such as Tencent, which has all-in-one apps, including WeChat.

Whether Microsoft will ever launch such an app is still being determined. Still, sources say CEO Satya Nadella is laying the groundwork by pushing Bing to work better with Microsoft's other mobile products.

Bing is at a disadvantage on mobile platforms compared to Google. Google has a billion-dollar contract with Apple to have its search engine be the default on iOS as it is on Android.

Microsoft doesn't have its own mobile app store either, forcing it to rely on competitors to attract and retain users. And competitors have rules, such as when Microsoft tried to get a mobile gaming store onto the App Store.

According to a former employee, Microsoft has periodically bid on Apple's contract, but Google has won every time. However, regulators have been eyeing the partnership between Apple and Google.

The Department of Justice is seeking an injunction in its pending antitrust lawsuit against Google to prevent renewal of the agreement, saying it unfairly stifles competition. However, a deal between Apple and Microsoft may not command the same level of scrutiny since Bing has a much lower share of the web search market than Google.

Apple has also been focused on developing web search features across its services, but its efforts are slowed. Due to its privacy stance, the company has fewer data to work with than Google or Microsoft.

Rumors of an Apple search engine reappeared earlier in 2022, with analyst Robert Scoble claiming the company will unveil it in January 2023.