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NY Times: Microsoft Tried To Unload Bing On Facebook 230

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-you-take-it dept.
benfrog writes "According to a blog posting on the New York Times site, Microsoft tried to sell the perpetual money-losing Bing to Facebook 'over a year ago' (the article cites 'several people with knowledge of the discussions who didn't want to be identified talking about internal deliberations'). Steve Ballmer, apparently, was not involved or consulted. Facebook politely declined. Neither Microsoft or Facebook would comment on the rumors."
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NY Times: Microsoft Tried To Unload Bing On Facebook

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  • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday April 26, 2012 @11:32PM (#39817009) Journal
    Bing's only a Two billion dollar a year money pit [businessinsider.com]. But at least that investment's making a dent on Google, right? Um, no. [hitslink.com] Wow. That is an amazing. What qualifications do you have to have to run a business like that? I think I could do that.
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @11:44PM (#39817059) Journal
      It could be worse, you could be the product manager for a product that has gone from almost 40% market share to 13% in about 4 years [netcraft.com] and looks like it will be the no. 3 player soon.
    • by Osgeld (1900440) on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:22AM (#39817239)

      see this is what I dont understand about business at that level, EVEN IF bing is a 2 billion dollar a year money pit (which I seriously doubt) why not cut it? Its not like companies have cut products before, it happens all the time ..

      But in the computer industry there is this HUGE factor of pride of being 100% right 100% of the time no matter the cost. Shit happens, cost go over, nothing is perfect, but for fuck sake at some point its time to kill the white elephant that consumes too much and only produces shit.

      So what Microsoft, you renamed MSN to BING and bundled a bunch of crap into LIVE, no one used it, no one uses it, when do you actually look at whats happening ... its only been 20 fucking years of the same bleh

      • by bmo (77928) on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:53AM (#39817393)

        But in the computer industry there is this HUGE factor of pride of being 100% right 100% of the time no matter the cost. Shit happens, cost go over, nothing is perfect, but for fuck sake at some point its time to kill the white elephant that consumes too much and only produces shit.

        This is why Microsoft should have been broken up by the DOJ instead of overturning Jackson's ruling.

        Microsoft, back then, had stump ponds full of management deadwood. They use their profitable departments to shore up their epic money losing departments. If the company had been broken up by major departments (OS from User Software, for example), we probably wouldn't see what we see today, that is OS and Office holding up every stupid money losing project ever in Microsoft. Stupid money losing projects should be spun off to sink or swim on their own or closed down.

        But what we have today is not only just a few stump ponds, but entire swamps full of deadwood where investor money and profits go to rot, increasing the amount of gaseous emissions coming from Redmond to compete with the amount of hot air emanating from Ballmer's mouth.

        --
        BMO

        • So the DOJ did the right thing by accident then?

          MS will get so large and lethargic it will slowly rot to death from the inside?

          Sounds like someone played the long game...

          • by bmo (77928)

            >So the DOJ did the right thing by accident then?

            No. Read.

            Judge Jackson wrote a ruling that Microsoft should be broken up. Microsoft appealed, won, and Microsoft was not broken up.

            --
            BMO

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Eskarel (565631)

        They don't cut it because it's more complicated than the Microsoft bashers let on.

        Microsoft builds search for enterprise, a space where it is very successful, more popular, and a darned site cheaper than Google's offerings. Bing is Sharepoint search for the public, sure it isn't really taking any market share, but that doesn't really matter, because they're getting the kind of test volume which you can't do for in internal product. MSN messenger is the same deal. Microsoft makes no money off of it, but they

  • Intragam (Score:5, Funny)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @11:40PM (#39817047) Homepage

    And instead they bought Intragam, possibly the only product/site in existence that is actually stupider then Bing.

    • Re:Intragam (Score:5, Funny)

      by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @11:53PM (#39817125)

      Bing is on Facebook's acquisition list though. Bing is just below Zombo.com [zombo.com].

  • by Boronx (228853) <evonreis@3.14159 ... ing.com minus pi> on Thursday April 26, 2012 @11:44PM (#39817065) Homepage Journal

    Bing is better in some ways than Google and folks are starting to notice. Microsoft would be stupid to abandon it.

    • by busyqth (2566075) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @11:49PM (#39817101)
      Good job.
      Now you'll be sure to get the raise.
      • Except that Boronx is not one of the astroturfers. Yes, /. is being astroturfed by MS. That is a fact. However, your claiming that everybody who supports MS must either work for them or is one of the astroturfers is a losing proposition.
    • Re:Stupid to Sell (Score:5, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:08AM (#39817187)

      Bing was better for a while, though the "M$"-hating manchildren would never admit it. But by now? No. All of Bing's best features have been copied by Google. Improved image search, preview panes, flight statuses at the top of results, bird's eye view in the maps (not to be confused with satellite view), the list goes on. And that's a good thing. That's how competition is supposed to work. But Bing hasn't continued to innovate. And their other big advantage -- a relative lack of link farms -- has faded. So now they're no more innovative than Google, their results aren't any better, and their market share is stuck around 15% (30% if you include Yahoo). Meanwhile Google's Android platform will ensure they continue to grow. If MS is counting on windows phones to drive traffic to Bing, they're going to be disappointed.

      I'm glad Bing existed and forced Google to add new, useful features. But unless they make some big improvements, they're never going to come even remotely close to pushing out Google.

      • by dskzero (960168)
        Yup. Bing still feels too cumbersome to use, but it's a product that can be improved. Not that I think Facebook would try to buy it, but sure as hell I don't think Microsoft would randomly sell it.

        Over a year ago, Microsoft executives sent out feelers to Facebook to see if the company would be interested in acquiring Bing, though the overture was not officially sanctioned by Steven A. Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, one of these people said. Mr. Zuckerberg declined, saying Facebook had too much else to concentrate on. Dawn Beauparlant, a spokeswoman for Microsoft, declined to comment, as did Ashley Zandy, a spokeswoman for Facebook.

        That said, this is the only part of TFA that actually talks about the headline. Apparently, the submitter did not even read much, because the rest of the article is actually interesting instead of this random speculation that has absolutely no proof, names, evidence, or even quotes, and isn't even that intriguing

  • by DERoss (1919496) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @11:58PM (#39817143)

    Six months ago, I logged from where visitors to some of my Web pages came. I was particularly interested in which search services were crawling my Web site. I am now completing a similar logging.

    Six months ago, Bing had completely replaced MSN as a crawler; MSN did not crawl my selected Web pages even once. This time, I am again seeing MSN crawling my Web site.

    Does this mean that Micro$oft is reverting back to its prior search service and abandoning Bing?

  • How much did they offer Facebook to take it off their hands?
  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:17AM (#39817227)
    What's killing Microsoft is the lack of viable products. Take away Windows and Office and Microsoft would cease to exist. Take away any two Apple products, even product lines, and you still have a viable company. Microsoft has a string of failed products while Apple's track record for the last decade has been excellent. Sure there have been a few failures but most have simply failed to perform like Apple TV and not outright disasters. The Zune may not have been a total failure but it hardly set the world afire. Xbox has done well but it wouldn't keep the company afloat if it lost Windows and Office. Windows and Office have largely hit market saturation which has lead to ten years of stock stagnation. Until Microsoft comes up with a break out product the company will continue to stagnate. I'm not an Apple fanboy it's just Microsoft has retreated to the safety of two successful product lines and rarely does anything to shake things up. The biggest shake up will be a new Xbox model but to put it into perspective what are the sales numbers on Xbox consoles? 66 million to date so maybe 1.5 billion in console sales. At best we're talking a few billion in sales not profits. Apple has 110 billion in cash on hand. Microsoft needs another Windows or Office level product to get competitive again and nothing is on the horizon.
    • by LordLucless (582312) on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:55AM (#39817401)

      Take away any two Apple products, even product lines, and you still have a viable company.

      Really? Take away iPhones and iPods, and what do you have left? Their desktop/laptop business? Yeah, that's viable, but an Apple that only sold those would be a tiny fraction of what it is now. The massive upswing in Apple's profile was the iPod, and the iPhone built on that. Without those, Apple would just be a slightly-more-expensive Dell.

      I agree that Apple is putting out more successful products than Microsoft, but it's focus is still very, very narrow. Cutting out Windows and Office would take out most of Microsoft's profit, but only a tiny slice of their product offerings. Taking out iPhones and iPods not only takes out the majority of Apple's profit, but also a decent chunk of their product lineup.

      • by wanzeo (1800058)

        Take away any two Apple products, even product lines, and you still have a viable company.

        Really? Take away iPhones and iPods, and what do you have left? Without those, Apple would just be a slightly-more-expensive Dell

        I would extend that to Google, Facebook, and really any tech company. The reality is that many of these companies are one-trick ponies, and despite their best efforts, they are unable to expand. Google really went all out to clone Facebook for G+, and a year later it's a ghost town. Similarly; I can remember when Dell and Sony were the epitome of consumer hardware, and now they've been almost completely eclipsed. There is just no room for second place, and no one stays on top for long.

        • Actually, Google has search, map, and android. However, the 3 support each other. It will be interesting to see what is going to come from openmap's impact on google map.

          G+ is just getting started. I do not think that it is a ghost town, but it really is lacking what is needed to make it compete against FB. The fact that you can not write scripts is just amazing. I am shocked that they did not and still have not, done that.
      • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Friday April 27, 2012 @02:32AM (#39817851) Homepage Journal

        Really? Take away iPhones and iPods, and what do you have left? Their desktop/laptop business? Yeah, that's viable

        It was and probably is. And if you took away the iPhones and iPods there's still the iPads where there's more excitement today.
        If you actually wanted to 'hurt' Apple you'd take away iTunes. Not because it's a massive profit center in itself but because it's what makes the iPod user buy an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV etc etc.
        MS has no gateway drug, they thought they did with Windows (and for a long time that was true) but somehow the world changed and a more frequent refresh of the iPhone line is far more exciting that the tick/tock (bad/good) release of Microsofts OS line.

        • Really? Take away iPhones and iPods, and what do you have left? Their desktop/laptop business? Yeah, that's viable

          It was and probably is

          Which is exactly what I said, before you snipped half my sentence to make it look like I didn't.

          And if you took away the iPhones and iPods there's still the iPads

          There's a difference between an iPhone and an iPad? They're the same thing in a different form factor. Hell, the iPod isn't that much different itself. If you count them as different product lines, you might as well count Microsoft's Home/Pro (or whatever they are this time round) versions as different product lines - there's about as much distinction.

          • There's a difference between an iPhone and an iPad? They're the same thing in a different form factor. Hell, the iPod isn't that much different itself. If you count them as different product lines, you might as well count Microsoft's Home/Pro (or whatever they are this time round) versions as different product lines - there's about as much distinction.

            As much as I'd like to agree with you, if they are the same product why do people buy one of each rather than just make do with one or the other?

            • Same reason people buy a desktop and a laptop? They're fundamentally the same device, but different form factors are useful in different situations.

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Take away the iPod and iPhone and Apple would be one of the bigger PC manufacturers and sell a whole mess of iPads. Both product lines are the most profitable in the business.

        Take away Office and Windows and Microsoft would be bankrupt.

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      That's true, but those product lines are bigger than you'd think, and Apple has fewer product lines than you think. Office is a gigantic ecosystem including cloud services, it's technically one product but it contains a huge number of sub products. Windows is again a whole bunch of different stuff, though it's probably a shrinking not growing portion of their product set. SQL server is also quite a money spinner these days. The days when Microsoft made all their money on sales of Office for the Desktop and

  • For sale:
    Hole in the ground. Sucks massive amounts of your money into oblivion every month.
    Price 2 billion dollars, or best offer.

    -

  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Friday April 27, 2012 @12:43AM (#39817345)

    Facebook is one of the few sites with the resources and hit count to actually have a chance against Google. Not to say it would have worked, the implementation, combined with Bing's ahem "quirks" would make it an uphill battle.

    But instead the sage Zuckerberg proved himself to not be the visionary the media paints him by buying a brain-dead obvious "innovative" flavor of the week app (apparently cheap filters and basic image processing + built in camera FTW) with no patents, innovations, or profits. Let me introduce you to the (richer) Shawn Fanning of our decade 2010's.

    We used to call ideas like facebook and Napster clever uses of existing technology presented in a way that finally opened the door to normal people. A noble achievement worth a paycheck. Now we call them the basis for Fortune 500 companies and the pinnacle of tech innovations. NASA and real science is just too boring and no matter how many buttons I push my microwave can't make my food come out in sepia.

    No offense to the people who work for Instagram the product is fine, just that it's overvalue raises serious concerns about the state of progress. There is not a single thing that is new or better about the product than PC software for decades other than it runs on a pocket computer. imagine telling the people at Bell Labs, Xerox, Honeywell, IBM, or one of the dozens of other real innovators in the 70's that shit like this was what drove our current technology economy. They would laugh, then cry, then ask about the flying cars

    Oh but I forgot it runs on a smartphone! Meaning that according to the patent office these are whole new uncharted realms of innovation worthy of the legal protection akin to the lightbulp or the the CRT. Prior art? Now a days whats considred inventive is just shifting and existing idea wholesale from one screen or interface to another. To me in a sane marketplace Instagram is worth about a $1 plus whatever assets and minus whatever debts they have incurred.

    Oh well then, off to design my new protected innovation the "Hello Welcome" door-mat based browser. And don't you dare libel it me by suggesting it is in any way similar to PC browsers since Mosaic in the 90's. Can you control your computer browser with your fucking foot? Yeah that's what I thought- invent something as revolutionary and lifechanging as browsing in the the elements from your doorstep 20 feet from your PC and maybe we will talk BTW.

    You won't believe what I've got up my sleeve next (assuming you have been in a coma since the death of real R&D focus in the West).

    • by snookums (48954)

      The thing is, these valuations are based on users, not technology. If I had an app that all it did was show you a random picture of poop every day, and 27 million people turned on that app and looked at the poop each day, I could probably sell that for $1B too.

      • by WiiVault (1039946)
        True, but what kind of loyalty does a fairly shallow, easily clone-able app have especially if people might only be interested at the price of free. Not sure, but I bet if Google or even MS (assuming Android and iOS support) decided to they could steal all those users away quickly. It doesn't help that facebook isn't really known for their programming prowess.
    • by jovius (974690)

      Instagram's 30 million users cost Facebook about 30$/head. I'm sure they are worth more than that.

      • by WiiVault (1039946)
        At that price considering duplicate accounts, one off use account/got sick of it after a week, I'd venture that it will end up with 500 also free competitors (possibly big company supplied ones from companies who have smartphone experience) and will be about as well off as spending a billion to buy into the flashlight or fart app market a few years back. But I'll admit it's hard to say one way or another. I can't imagine anybody on Slashdot couldn't off the top of their head list about 10 better companies
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Don't forget, most of those users already have Facebook accounts.

        And what exactly are those $30 users going to pay for?

        This "buying users" thing is stupid, except in very limited circumstances. Users are earned, not purchased. Just like customers.

    • by WiiVault (1039946)

      Sorry for the self reply, but disclaimer for the grammar. No I'm not drunk, but I haven't slept in about 48 hours, and despite previewing it I only just now realized how grammatically "different" and it reads. Sometimes you just have to think outside of the box, trail-blaze and fight conformity even in basic communication mediums defined over hundreds of years forming a basis for modern culture YKWIM? Kewl. That is if you want to lead us into web 10.0. Yup you read that right.

      After learning that you can ju

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday April 27, 2012 @01:19AM (#39817493)

    Silly execs. They should have unloaded it on eBay.

    • by WiiVault (1039946)
      I think you mean HP. Meg Whitman will try to buy anything no matter how poorly matched it is. Heck she's so hardcore she doesn't just try and buy lobbyists she tries to buy herself into the governorship's mansion itself. She's a card carrying member of Carly Fiorina club of how maintain the stereotype that women can't be good leaders or corporate decision-makers. That's pretty damn hard to look worse than the men they replaced. I guess no matter the gender shit will rise -assuming a proper diet of narcissis
  • They should have just slapped together a quick photo posting app, maybe given it the option of applying a few filters to said photo and then tried to sell them that.
  • Facebook politely declined

    I would have expected "Fuck, I wouldn't take that money-losing shit if you paid me".

  • Why Facebook would want to buy the Zune of search engines?

  • I used to find 'Microsoft Maps' quite useful, and easier than some to post on websites. But since they called them Ping, or something equally stupid, I haven't been back.

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