Ecosia, a search engine that uses Bing’s results and invests profits in environmental projects, is considering developing its own chatbot and is willing to license Bing’s chatbot technology. However, CEO Christian Kroll cautions that it is important to ensure that using Bing’s chatbot technology does not further entrench dominance. Bing’s share of worldwide searches is estimated at less than 3%, while Google takes up 93%. However, Bing’s share of searches on desktop computers is over 8% because Windows is the dominant operating system and Microsoft gives its own search engine preference. Bing’s search ads are a key portion of Microsoft’s $18 billion annual advertising revenue. The chatbot race is stoking excitement in competition between Bing, Google, and other companies urging Microsoft to make its APIs available to other companies on reasonable terms.
Microsoft risks losing its gains from its search renaissance if its handling of its existing API contracts does not improve. Companies are increasingly bypassing Bing and developing their own search systems, as was the case with startup Neeva who built their own system after user complaints about the misinterpreted queries, outdated results, and other quality issues that Bing’s API was producing. Bing maintains an edge, however, by having a wide ecosystem of products and services that can help direct more people to its search box. Nevertheless, competition is essential to avoid a world with just two large search companies that control the market.