Bing for iPhone Shows Microsoft Getting Smart About Search8:56 AM EST Thu. Dec. 17, 2009
The fact that Microsoft's Bing search engine is now an Apple iPhone app might be a sign of new friendship between Microsoft and Apple. But more than likely, it means Microsoft is getting savvy about where and when to place Bing. The iPhone is one of the most visible of mobile platforms, the App Store is exploding in popularity, and Microsoft is in need of new ways to pump up Bing's profile.
If it's true that the enemy of one's enemy is one's friend, Microsoft and Apple might have new reason to be cozying up: they're bolth at odds with Google.
At least one analyst sees it that way, anyway.
"Google is a different animal than it was two or three years ago when it was simply providing a set of services for Apple and the iPhone and now is competing with Apple in the mobile space," said Michael Gartenberg, a vice president at Interpret, in an interview with Yahoo NewsFactor. "I think it was wise of Apple to approve this application and wise of Microsoft to get this application out there and to use this as an opportunity to show some differentiation from the type of things Google offers."
The Microsoft Bing app for iPhone includes voice search technology that allows users to speak directions, an address, or searchable location like a restaurant into their iPhone. The Bing app is also useful for suggesting different types of directions -- walking or driving -- as well as providing zoom-out function for one-hand phone use and "clickable hotspots" such as images and movies.
The Bing app is available for free -- it already exists for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile phones -- and will go head to head with the Google Mobile App, which is Google's established iPhone landing spot. While it would be naive to think a Bing app for iPhone signals something greater in the thawing of Apple-Microsoft relations, rest assured this won't be the last time the two titans find common ground against a common enemy: Google.