Bing Is Profitable

Microsoft promised that Bing would stop losing money in its fiscal year 2016. Today, the company reported the first quarter’s results of that fiscal period and dropped an interesting tidbit: Bing is profitable.

Here’s Mary Jo Foley with the guts of the situation:

During its first quarter fiscal 2016 earnings call, Microsoft announced that Bing had finally achieved profitability. Search contributed more than $1 billion to Microsoft’s first quarter for fiscal 2016, said Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood during the company’s October 22 earnings call.

I doubt that many of us were expecting Microsoft to beat its goal in the first quarter, so “what gives?” is a decent question. Happily, Microsoft has notes for us. From its earnings slides:


In short, revenue was up more than it was in the sequentially preceding quarter. That likely pushed Bing into the black.

However, while all that is nice, it’s the second bullet point that matters more than the first. Microsoft derived one out of every five dollars it made in search from Windows 10 devices. Windows 10 has a far smaller footprint than the larger Windows world, due in no small part to its relative age.

So, to generate 20 percent of Bing revenue in September implies that Microsoft’s strategy of using Windows 10 as a conduit to drive other incomes is working; I think it’s fair to take Microsoft’s comments as wink-wink implication that the per-user Bing search rate on a monthly basis, say, is far higher on Windows 10 than Windows 8.x. And that means more revenue.

But yeah, Microsoft should sell Bing. Or something. An analyst told me.