Bing Looks Abroad

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Microsoft is working to expand Bing’s international footprint. A job posting, spotted by Neowin, speaks plainly: “Bing is embarking on the most ambitious geographic and product expansion in its history.”

Well then. Microsoft hasn’t taken down the listing, so it’s likely not too concerned about having its plans aired publicly. What this signifies is that Microsoft is not backing down from its services strategy. Bing, along with other online products, have long been money-losers for their parent company. Microsoft had plodded along all the same.

Search is an interesting area in tech. As technology companies compete across a rising number of product categories, search has a relatively low number of protagonists. There are essentially two general players — Google and Microsoft — and niche participants that focus on a differentiation point — privacy, natural language procession, and so forth. Apple has a stab in play with Siri, which competes with Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Google Now. But when it comes down to broad, web search efforts, Google and Microsoft are somewhat alone.

Not that that is all Bing is to Microsoft. It’s the company’s search layer that it hopes to leverage across its platform. But it is useful to recall that Bing does challenge Google’s core offering.

What is Bing up to? Neowin’s take, based on the view that Bing abroad has been a “second-class experience,” summarizes the news thusly:

This is not a simple expansion either as Microsoft is going all-in on bringing local content to these new markets. The job posting says that the successful candidate will be required to ‘drive and execute strategic partnerships and tactical deals in key search distribution and content areas (which may include local, shopping, entertainment, music, books, video, social, news and apps), for the web, mobile/tablets, Xbox and other devices.’ While the project appears to be in its infancy, seeing how quickly Microsoft has been rolling out new products and features in other products, we are quietly hopeful that these markets will get content sooner, rather than later.

It’s certainly true a large chunk of the technology press looks at their industry with a US-focused lens. I can’t confess to having tested Bing much outside the country while traveling.

For now, Microsoft is staying the course, building a wide set of services that reach across technological silos. The company still isn’t much at social — Xbox Live aside — but it seems that on other key areas Redmond is refusing to give up.

IMAGE BY FLICKR USER ROBERT SCOBLE UNDER CC BY 2.0 LICENSE (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)