Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer, has elected to continue its partnership with Google, opting not to switch to Microsoft’s Bing as the default search engine for its mobile devices. The internal review considering this major change has been suspended, according to inside sources.
In recent weeks, speculation was rife that Samsung was considering a search-engine swap for its proprietary Internet web-browsing app pre-installed on all its smartphones. The change would have dethroned Google as the primary search engine, replacing it with Microsoft’s Bing. However, any imminent transition now appears to have been shelved, sparing Google a significant blow and denying Bing a coveted victory in the search engine space.
The possibility of Samsung’s search-engine changing from Google to Bing had been reported by the New York Times last month, causing a stir in the tech community. Bing has seen a resurgence in recent times, having integrated features of ChatGPT, the popular chatbot developed by Microsoft-backed OpenAI.
Samsung’s initial deliberations around switching search engines were influenced by the understanding that it wouldn’t considerably disrupt the status quo. Data suggest that a majority of Samsung smartphone users bypass the company’s Internet app in favor of other browsers, like Google Chrome, which also comes pre-installed on Samsung devices.
However, concerns over market perception of the switch and the potential impact on Samsung’s extensive business relations with Google have now led to the South Korean tech giant putting the discussions on hold. It should be noted, though, that insiders suggest the company is not permanently ruling out the possibility of Bing becoming a future option.
Samsung’s consideration of Bing appears to be part of an ongoing effort to diversify its smartphone software and explore alternative offerings. The company has previously expressed concern about its heavy reliance on Google’s software, despite Google’s search engine currently accounting for around 93% of searches on computers and mobile devices.
In a competitive landscape, both Samsung and Google maintain a close yet complex business relationship. Samsung’s smartphones heavily rely on Google’s Android operating system, while Google depends on Samsung’s hardware, including memory chips and contract chip-making services. Yet, the two companies also compete head-to-head in product categories such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and smart home solutions.
This symbiotic relationship extends to Microsoft as well, another key Samsung partner. Microsoft and Samsung have collaborated to ensure seamless integration between their offerings, such as syncing Samsung Galaxy smartphones with Windows PCs.
As Samsung’s future plans evolve, industry insiders will undoubtedly watch with interest. Whether the search engine saga is entirely concluded or merely paused remains to be seen.