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

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

Microsoft
Microsoft


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.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,326member
    BLACK BING, starring the Rock.
    jeffharris
  • Reply 2 of 19
    There's room for a better search engine because Google search now sucks. In addition to its longtime policy of ignoring consumer privacy for search and monetizing your data, sponsored listings now dominate results, often times barely relevant to what you're actually looking to find. I don't think an upstart company could ever take on Google, but Microsoft could if they wanted to get behind Bing in a bigger way. Unfortunately, since boosting their ad business is the primary goal of this "super app" effort, we'd probably end up with something no better than Google. An Apple search engine that protected consumer privacy would seem to be a no brainer, but the billion dollar gravy train they've got going with Google is just too good to give up--Tim gets truckloads of cash just for making Google the default search engine on Apple operating systems. Money doesn't get much easier than that. 
    danoxmknelsonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,133member
    charlesn said:
    There's room for a better search engine because Google search now sucks. In addition to its longtime policy of ignoring consumer privacy for search and monetizing your data, sponsored listings now dominate results, often times barely relevant to what you're actually looking to find. I don't think an upstart company could ever take on Google, but Microsoft could if they wanted to get behind Bing in a bigger way. Unfortunately, since boosting their ad business is the primary goal of this "super app" effort, we'd probably end up with something no better than Google. An Apple search engine that protected consumer privacy would seem to be a no brainer, but the billion dollar gravy train they've got going with Google is just too good to give up--Tim gets truckloads of cash just for making Google the default search engine on Apple operating systems. Money doesn't get much easier than that. 
    In other words, Google is paying Apple billions of dollars to stay out of the Search business.

    watto_cobraravnorodom
  • Reply 4 of 19
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,569member
    One App to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them.

    (Apologies to JRR Tolkein)
    freediverxAniMilljeffharrislotoneswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    AniMillAniMill Posts: 109member
    At Microsoft someone holding the All in One code is saying, “Our Precious…”

    (kudos to @DAalseth )
    edited December 2022 jeffharrisDAalsethwatto_cobrasdw2001
  • Reply 6 of 19
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,518member
    charlesn said:
    There's room for a better search engine because Google search now sucks. In addition to its longtime policy of ignoring consumer privacy for search and monetizing your data, sponsored listings now dominate results, often times barely relevant to what you're actually looking to find. I don't think an upstart company could ever take on Google, but Microsoft could if they wanted to get behind Bing in a bigger way. Unfortunately, since boosting their ad business is the primary goal of this "super app" effort, we'd probably end up with something no better than Google. An Apple search engine that protected consumer privacy would seem to be a no brainer, but the billion dollar gravy train they've got going with Google is just too good to give up--Tim gets truckloads of cash just for making Google the default search engine on Apple operating systems. Money doesn't get much easier than that. 
    That cozy deal with Google is where Antitrust enforcement should be focused.
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 19
    danox said:
    charlesn said:
    There's room for a better search engine because Google search now sucks. In addition to its longtime policy of ignoring consumer privacy for search and monetizing your data, sponsored listings now dominate results, often times barely relevant to what you're actually looking to find. I don't think an upstart company could ever take on Google, but Microsoft could if they wanted to get behind Bing in a bigger way. Unfortunately, since boosting their ad business is the primary goal of this "super app" effort, we'd probably end up with something no better than Google. An Apple search engine that protected consumer privacy would seem to be a no brainer, but the billion dollar gravy train they've got going with Google is just too good to give up--Tim gets truckloads of cash just for making Google the default search engine on Apple operating systems. Money doesn't get much easier than that. 
    That cozy deal with Google is where Antitrust enforcement should be focused.
    Huh?
    williamlondonkiehtan
  • Reply 8 of 19
    MS does much better copying, stealing and buying other company's originality.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,788member
    I mostly use Bing as it is the search engine for Duck Duck Go.   But it is not as good as Google search, I must admit.

    inwould think Microsoft’s plans would have more of an impact on search engines like DDG than it would on Google.

    I could see my workplace, which is everything Microsoft, doing this. They just closed off Apple Mail and Calendar access in favour of Outlook only.  For mobile devices, having to go into one app and then click again to get to the calendar sucks.
    williamlondonwatto_cobraravnorodom
  • Reply 10 of 19
    And you’ll only need a Terabyte of ram and four X series processors in parallel to run such a “super app.” (I.e. bloatware)
    williamlondonwatto_cobraravnorodom
  • Reply 11 of 19
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,979member
    How many Gb of space is that super app going to take. Work, Excel, Powerpoint and outlook each are 2?
    watto_cobraravnorodom
  • Reply 12 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,639member
    My experience with “super apps” or what I’d call “kitchen sink” or “dog’s breakfast” apps has never been a pleasant one. Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, and (sorry Apple) iTunes are prime examples of kitchen sink apps that I found and still find to be particularly wretched. 

    I was so happy when Apple finally broke up iTunes into separate apps. Obviously Apple learned their lesson and fixed what had to be fixed. 

    Unfortunately Microsoft seems incapable of learning from its mistakes. 

    Lotus Notes … what can you really say about a “super app” that required Dante’s 9 circles of hell to be expanded from 9 circles to 10 circles. 

    Thank you Apple for not being Microsoft, IBM, or any other software company that wants to inflict super apps on its customers at the current stage of computer and human evolution. 
    edited December 2022 ravnorodom
  • Reply 13 of 19
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,267member
    MS does much better copying, stealing and buying other company's originality.
    And Apple isn't that far behind them, or maybe even as bad as MS, at least based in Apple recent products and releases.  For example,

    iPad Pro copying Surface Pro
    Apple Music copying Spotify
    Apple TV+ copying Netflix
    HomePod copy Amazon Echo
    Apple Arcade copying Xbox GamePass
    Apple Airtags copying Tile

    edited December 2022
  • Reply 14 of 19
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,267member
    dewme said:
    My experience with “super apps” or what I’d call “kitchen sink” or “dog’s breakfast” apps has never been a pleasant one. Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, and (sorry Apple) iTunes are prime examples of kitchen sink apps that I found and still find to be particularly wretched. 

    I was so happy when Apple finally broke up iTunes into separate apps. Obviously Apple learned their lesson and fixed what had to be fixed. 

    Unfortunately Microsoft seems incapable of learning from its mistakes. 

    Lotus Notes … what can you really say about a “super app” that required Dante’s 9 circles of hell to be expanded from 9 circles to 10 circles. 

    Thank you Apple for not being Microsoft, IBM, or any other software company that wants to inflict super apps on its customers at the current stage of computer and human evolution. 
    I think Outlook (I never had to use Lotus Notes) works fine, especially in a business environment.  I prefer to have a single app to manage all related to my work, communications, contacts and appointments.  I tried to use Mac Mail, Contacts and Calendar, and it's terrible.  Maybe for personal use isn't as bad, but for business use I prefer Outlook.  
    ravnorodom
  • Reply 15 of 19
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,503member
    danox said:
    charlesn said:
    There's room for a better search engine because Google search now sucks. In addition to its longtime policy of ignoring consumer privacy for search and monetizing your data, sponsored listings now dominate results, often times barely relevant to what you're actually looking to find. I don't think an upstart company could ever take on Google, but Microsoft could if they wanted to get behind Bing in a bigger way. Unfortunately, since boosting their ad business is the primary goal of this "super app" effort, we'd probably end up with something no better than Google. An Apple search engine that protected consumer privacy would seem to be a no brainer, but the billion dollar gravy train they've got going with Google is just too good to give up--Tim gets truckloads of cash just for making Google the default search engine on Apple operating systems. Money doesn't get much easier than that. 
    That cozy deal with Google is where Antitrust enforcement should be focused.
    I believe that has been specifically targeted as part of an on-going investigation (or request for documentation as part of evaluating the need for a deeper look into the terms of any agreement). 
  • Reply 16 of 19
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,929member
    Yeah, we had that.  It was called Yahoo! ....and AOL.  

    "I'm sure it will be a smashing success.  People love everything crammed into one space.  It's why I find the Windows taskbar on my work computer so useful! I love when it randomly shows me the S&P average, then an animated icon for rain.  But wait..when you click it (even right click!) it gets so much better.  Then it expands to news stories, weather, sports and more! It's always responsive and never intrudes on my workflow.  Plus that little circle icon on the left is clear and helps me launch MS's superior voice assistant that I use every day."   

    ---said no one, ever.  


  • Reply 17 of 19
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,929member
    Yeah, we had that.  It was called Yahoo! ....and AOL.  

    "I'm sure it will be a smashing success.  People love everything crammed into one space.  It's why I find the Windows taskbar on my work computer so useful! I love when it randomly shows me the S&P average, then an animated icon for rain.  But wait..when you click it (even right click!) it gets so much better.  Then it expands to news stories, weather, sports and more! It's always responsive and never intrudes on my workflow.  Plus that little circle icon on the left is clear and helps me launch MS's superior voice assistant that I use every day."   

    ---said no one, ever.  
  • Reply 18 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,639member
    danvm said:
    dewme said:
    My experience with “super apps” or what I’d call “kitchen sink” or “dog’s breakfast” apps has never been a pleasant one. Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, and (sorry Apple) iTunes are prime examples of kitchen sink apps that I found and still find to be particularly wretched. 

    I was so happy when Apple finally broke up iTunes into separate apps. Obviously Apple learned their lesson and fixed what had to be fixed. 

    Unfortunately Microsoft seems incapable of learning from its mistakes. 

    Lotus Notes … what can you really say about a “super app” that required Dante’s 9 circles of hell to be expanded from 9 circles to 10 circles. 

    Thank you Apple for not being Microsoft, IBM, or any other software company that wants to inflict super apps on its customers at the current stage of computer and human evolution. 
    I think Outlook (I never had to use Lotus Notes) works fine, especially in a business environment.  I prefer to have a single app to manage all related to my work, communications, contacts and appointments.  I tried to use Mac Mail, Contacts and Calendar, and it's terrible.  Maybe for personal use isn't as bad, but for business use I prefer Outlook.  
    Like you said, personal preferences always matter. The biggest detractors for kitchen sink apps for me is that they often assume that their built-in or bundled functionality is the center of the universe. This means that bundled things like calendar, email, and contacts are buried inside the super app which can make it difficult to get at those capabilities from other apps, especially apps from vendors other than the provider of the super app.

    Of course this all explains the primary reason why a company like Microsoft wants to sell you their super app. Microsoft wants to keep you confined within and dependent upon their super app for all of the bundled capabilities, like the super app is a mini-OS inside the real OS. This makes sense for them, but eliminates choice, interoperability, and extensibility for users who care about those things. The same applies to IT folks within a corporate environment as well because they want to limit the number of scope of what they have to support, especially for business critical functions. Microsoft and corporate IT want to shrink the computing world down as much as possible for end users, which makes perfect sense for them. As long end users are okay with that model, no big deal.

    End users who want more, like a better version of an app or capability that is bundled in a super app, are far less enthralled. In my experience the bundled capabilities in the super apps that I came to loath just kept getting worse and worse over time. Oftentimes the whole super app turned into a hot mess for end users, but because they were part of a big corporate IT investment or the only available option, the badness never went away despite the user base revolting against being stuck with having to slog through the hot mess. The upgrade cycles on some of the worst super apps was absolutely glacial.

    Hopefully the super apps of today have overcome the hot mess problems that they developed during the formative years of personal computing. But for personal use and when I have control, I’ll stick to the flexibility of being able to assemble best-of-breed functionality on my own and use the OS provide interoperability mechanisms to keep everything running smoothly.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    Certain app makes sense to combine into one and others don't. I have to agree that combining calendar, mail and contact into Outlook makes total sense. I use it everyday at work and the work flow is just smooth. As long as they don't roll other MS apps into it. Apple's separate apps for Mail, Calendar and Contact work perfectly fine also for home use. Also Outlook requires subscription (company paying it) and Apple Mail doesn't. Win-Win.
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