April 19, 2023
SEOUL – Speculation is growing that Samsung Electronics may be ditching its close ties with Google by replacing the default search engine for its flagship Galaxy devices with Microsoft’s Bing which has been upgraded with OpenAI’s powerful chatbot, ChatGPT.
According to industry sources and media reports on Tuesday, Samsung was considering switching to Bing last month, putting roughly $3 billion in annual revenue at risk for Google. Citing internal documents, the New York Times reported that there was “panic” at Google.
The New York Times report also confirmed that Google is on high alert, as its teams rush to wrangle its Magi project in response. Project Magi has been an ongoing part of the US-based global tech giant’s mission to upgrade its artificial intelligence capabilities in its current search engine, along with creating a more personalized experience.
The sudden scramble from the Google camp came as Samsung was said to be in negotiations with Microsoft to make Bing the new default search engine for all Android-based Galaxy devices, from smartphones to tablets.
Samsung’s apparent priority for its search engine of choice came down to which one had higher quality AI features, the report showed.
Alphabet Inc. shares slumped 2.66 percent on Monday following the rumor. At one point, the stock fell nearly 4 percent during the day. On the other hand, shares of Microsoft increased by 0.93 percent on the same day.
Google is the unrivaled dominant player in the search engine industry, making up 93.2 percent of the global market share as of March, followed by Microsoft’s Bing with a mere 2.9 percent, according to research firm StatCounter. In the mobile search engine sector, Google accounted for 96.6 percent, while Bing made up only 0.5 percent.
If Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker in terms of shipments, were to ditch Google in favor of Bing, the gap between the two global behemoths will highly likely narrow significantly, the sources said.
Google has struggled to keep up with its AI competitors. With OpenAI’s ChatGPT gaining explosive attention on the global stage, Microsoft has emerged as a strong contender against Google’s overwhelming dominance in the search engine market.
Samsung declined to comment on this rumor, but local industry sources predicted that it may be difficult for the tech giant to replace the search engine in the short term, as it has used Google’s Android operating system on its devices for more than a decade.
The world’s largest smartphone maker holds long-established partnerships with both Microsoft and Google. It applied Android OS to its smartphones launched in 2010 and Google’s search services as a default application, the sources said.
“Samsung Electronics has maintained a long-term cooperative relationship with Google,” a source on condition of anonymity told The Korea Herald. “However, the rumor is surely a symbolic case of the increasing importance of AI search engines.”