Samsung backs down from its threat to switch its Android phones to Bing

Enlarge / The regional headquarters of Samsung in Mountain View, California. (credit: Getty Images/Smith Collection)

Like most people that try to switch to Bing, Samsung is giving up on the idea after a few weeks. An earlier report from The New York Times said Samsung was considering dumping Google Search on its Android phones in favor of the ChatGPT-powered Bing search engine. A month later, a new report from The Wall Street Journal says that while Samsung “isn’t permanently closing the door on Bing as a future option,” it “won’t be swapping out the default search engine on its smartphones from Google to Microsoft’s Bing any time soon.”

The report on Samsung’s possible switch to Bing came during negotiations between Samsung and Google to re-up their search engine contract, and the idea could have just been a negotiating tactic. These deals usually aren’t public, but Google pays big cash piles to Apple and Samsung to make Google Search the default option on their devices. Microsoft’s Bing was the butt of jokes for years, but its sudden integration of the red-hot ChatGPT generative AI has suddenly made it interesting. The earlier NYT report detailed Google’s “shock” and “panic” when Samsung floated the idea of switching to Bing. There’s a good chance that Samsung landed better contract terms.

Whatever happened behind the scenes, the WSJ report says, “Samsung has decided it won’t further internally discuss the matter at this time given concerns over how the switch could be perceived by the market as well as the impact on its wide-ranging business relations with Google.” Samsung does have a lot of contact issues to balance with Google. Samsung needs the Play Store and various Google Android apps to make a competitive phone, and that requires signing a contract for Google Play and being buddies with Google. Again, these contracts are secret, but in some regions, following Google’s default app preferences means Google will pay companies to use Android. Going against the rules means they will be charged for Android.

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