Microsoft is burning $2.5+ billion annually online, as it tries to catch up with Google in search through Bing.This prompted the pundits at BreakingViews to suggest it was time for Microsoft to sell off Bing because it’s a distraction.
Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley has an answer to that suggestion: Fat chance.
She says, “While the world sees Bing as a distant No. 2 search engine, Microsoft brass and bean counters see Bing as a reusable component and asset that will be built into more and more products.”
What kind of products? Foley explains:
There’s already a Bing button in every Windows Phone 7-based device. And with the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 “Mango” OS release, there will be even more Bing functions. Bing Vision, the Microsoft equivalent of Google Goggles, is built into Windows Phone 7 Mango. This allows users to take pictures of bar-code-like tags — and, for those in the United States and certain other countries, product labels, books, CDs, DVDs and so on — and obtain instant information about them. Mango also includes Bing Audio, Redmond’s competitor to Shazam, which helps phone users find information about (and purchase) music they hear and don’t recognise. There’s also Bing Scout, a local-search capability that zeroes in on sights, retail outlets and upcoming events in a user’s geographical area.
The ‘Softies also see Bing as an integral feature in the coming Windows Live TV service. The service, the next-generation mashup of IPTV and Xbox Live expected to be available later this fall, integrates the Kinect sensor. Microsoft is using Bing to let users of this service search for TV shows, movies and music with their voices.