Microsoft mulls ‘super app’ for iPhone to compete with Google

Microsoft wants to ramp up its mobile efforts with a new “super app” for iPhone that would combine a number of different features into a single app. According to that The InformationMicrosoft’s hope is that such an app would help it break further into mobile search, which is currently dominated by Apple and Google.

This so-called “super app” would combine things like shopping, messaging, web search, newsfeeds, and more into a single app for iPhone and Android. This would “emulate a mobile strategy that has worked for Tencent,” the report explains, referring to the incredibly popular WeChat app. WeChat similarly combines things like messaging, shopping, news, and games into a single app.

Microsoft recently considered building a “super app” that could combine shopping, messaging, web search, news feeds and other services in a one-stop smartphone app, in what would be an ambitious move by the software giant to expand further into consumer services, according to people with direct knowledge of the discussions. Microsoft executives wanted the app to boost the company’s multibillion-dollar advertising business and Bing search, as well as draw more users to Teams messaging and other mobile services.

The report goes on to say that it’s not clear “whether Microsoft will ultimately launch such an app,” but it’s something that’s been internally considered. Microsoft’s push to better integrate into mobile products is being led by CEO Satya Nadella, who is particularly focused on “pushing the Bing search engine to work better with other Microsoft mobile products.”

On Apple platforms, Microsoft’s Bing is at an inherent disadvantage because of a multibillion-dollar deal between Apple and Google. Through this deal, Apple makes Google’s search engine the default on all of its platforms.

The Information reports that Microsoft has previously bid on this deal but has always been beaten out by Google. “The negotiations have typically taken place directly between Nadella and top Apple executives behind closed doors,” the report says. This leaves “many top Microsoft executives in the dark about the process.”

The deal between Google and Apple, however, is facing an increasing amount of antitrust scrutiny. Today’s report speculates that a deal between Microsoft and Apple may not attract as much regulatory attention “because Bing’s share of the web search market is tiny compared to Google’s.”

As of right now, however, there is no indication that Microsoft is planning to aggressively seek out a deal with Apple to have Bing be the default search engine on the iPhone. Instead, the company’s efforts are focused on improving Bing integration with existing Microsoft services and mulling the potential “super app.”

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Naveen Kumar

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