updated 02:50 pm EDT, Wed April 25, 2012
Microsoft said to have offered Bing to Facebook
A new report from the New York Times delving deeper into the Facebook buy of patents from Microsoft reveals that Microsoft at one point considered selling its Bing search engine to the social network. There is speculation in the industry that Facebook wants to start its own Internet search engine fed by the data it gathered from its millions of users in order to make money from online advertising. This would be a threat to Google more so than Microsoft, as the former is more dependent on such revenue.
Microsoft and Facebook made a deal two years ago to use data from the social network for more targeted or relevant search results in its Bing search engine. Over a year ago, Microsoft executives supposedly attempted to find out if Facebook would be interested in buying Bing, though this wasn't officially approved by Steve Ballmer, an insider revealed in the report. Facebook founder Zuckerberg declined the offer, stating the social network had too many other aspects to concentrate on.
Microsoft continues to lose hundreds of millions of dollars on its online division every quarter, with over $2.6 billion in operating losses for its Bing-supporting group during the 2011 fiscal year. The willing losses have been attributed to Ballmer's insistence that Microsoft must compete with Google on the web as desktop operating systems lose importance.