Siri’s Bing Moment

There were many interesting nuggets that came out of WWDC 2013. For our insiders, I plan to share the few that I don’t think are getting enough attention but yet are more significant than I believe people realize. But perhaps the most awkward part of the keynote was when Apple announced that the new and updated version of Siri will run on Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

This move is clearly one that is up for interpretation. I’m sure many will speculate that this move is nothing more than Apple doing what they can to eliminate any dependencies for Google on core services. Or that Apple does not want to give Google any more valuable data than they already have.

We have opined and written much on our thoughts that Apple clearly wants to usurp the search experience from Google. Siri is a way that this is happening as it functions as an interface layer, which Apple controls, for a search paradigm. Realistically, for a Siri user, it is irrelevant which search engine it uses so long as the data is accurate.

So I decided to put Bing to the test. Microsoft has a challenge called Bing It On in which they challenge you to submit five search queries then vote on a side-by-screen results screen on which you thought was most relevant to you. You don’t know which engine you are choosing, you simply pick the side that you think presented the best results. So I decided to try this as an experiment.

Here are the search queries I used.

– How to identify a queen bee cell
– How to play bluegrass guitar
– Schedule for Wimbledon 2013
– Omelet recipe ideas
– Grammar resources

The way in which I decided which side-by-side screen shot won was by how close to the top the most relevant answer was to the reason behind my search. Interestingly Bing won 4 out of 5 times. The only query Google won was the Wimbledon schedule.

I was actually surprised at this and it has inspired me to try and change my default search engine from all my devices from Google to Bing as a longer term experiment.

As I pointed out before, Siri running Bing may be up for interpretation in terms of Apple’s intentions. However, what matters is that the results are relevant and actionable.

The last thing I want to point out, and I plan to flesh this out more in the future, is that I will not be surprised if we see Apple and Microsoft become closer partners on things in the future. It appears they both now believe they have a common enemy in Google. ((I’m not sure Apple believed this until the last few years)) What’s more, is that in my opinion Google’s enemy is not Apple but it is Microsoft. I firmly believe that Google prefers Apple in the world but wants to eliminate Microsoft from the face of the planet.

Microsoft knows this and I believe will find ways to strategically partner with Apple in this fight. One could be brining Office to iPad only and never to Android. Bing is just the first of many strategic moves I think Apple and Microsoft will take to make sure the Google dictatorship does not rule the world.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

8 thoughts on “Siri’s Bing Moment”

  1. “The last thing I want to point out, and I plan to flesh this out more in the future, is that I will not be surprised if we see Apple and Microsoft become closer partners on things in the future. It appears they both now believe they have a common enemy in Google.1 ”

    I agree on that for Search. MS might have more to fear from Apple than Google in regards to future Office competition on tablets.

    1. I’ve thought about this as well, and I’ve always been curious with Apple’s approach with iWork. I think MSFT should be worried about a lot more than just Apple with regards to their office dominance.

        1. Well it depends. That is certainly one example, but I don’t use office, pages, or google docs for my writing or work flow. There are many better solutions that I use for each type of thing I want to do. I use an app called Perspective for my presentations, I use Ulysses III for writing. There are many purpose built apps that I use as a part of my solution that are better than a bundle. I’ve found them each individually and they are all less expensive that the MSFT or Apple solutions.

          1. Yeah, I’ve thought about doing more things like this on the apps I discover and how I use them. Thanks for the thought.

    2. Five or six years ago, Apple and Google saw each other as allies against a common enemy, Microsoft. Now its a three-cornered fight, but we could easily see Apple and Microsoft vs. Google.

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