Microsoft Bing Needs More Mobile, Social Leverage

Microsoft’s latest earning’s report stated that the company had an operating income of $3.6 billion in the Office division, $2.9 in Windows, $1.8 billion in Server and Tools and 32 million in profit in Entertainment.  Looks like they’re in quite in a stable boat right?  Sure, if you don’t consider the $728 million they lost in their Online Services Division, of which Bing is a part of.  Though Microsoft is doing extremely well in all other aspects, critics aren’t overlooking the fact that they are still losing money, many blaming it on Bing.

Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, is not getting much applause for its performance lately, as it still can’t beat out Google in terms of usage and popularity.  Some analysts are suggesting that Microsoft should just sell Bing; Facebook is rumored to be interested in acquiring the search engine to increase traffic, aside from the fact that it already is utilizing Bing in some of its features, leaving Microsoft to just focus on the money-generating aspects of their company.

But others say that Microsoft shouldn’t sell Bing, as it is the core of the company’s future, especially in the mobile industry.  Bing’s search tool is already incorporated in the Windows 7 phone, Xbox/Kinect platform, and soon on Windows 8.  If Microsoft sells Bing, they would also be selling the features and access points mentioned above.  Aside from this, the $728 million loss mentioned above spanned their entire Online Services Division, not just Bing alone.

Microsoft will need to pinpoint what is the real problem in that division so they can make proper adjustments to make it more profitable rather than a liability.  Aside from this, if other companies are interested in buying Bing, it only confirms that Bing works, because few companies would be interested in buying something that is useless.  Others are seeing money in Bing, and so is Microsoft.  As the software giant centers Bing’s evolution around becoming a decision-making engine, it has made some gains against the Google wave, and as Microsoft continues to pool its applications and services around mobile, gaming and web access points, Bing could eventually prove quite useful.

Microsoft has way too much on its plate to even worry or be affected by what critics and analysts are saying about them.  The company have already revamped Bing’s interface with ‘live tiles’ with real-time information updates, instant search and a full-motion HD video.   Microsoft is also partnering with Dell to build a green data center to power Bing Maps‘ suite of geospatial imaging applications.

The company is also said to be releasing a new Windows Mango-powered phone in September, which will coincide with the release of other smartphones from Toshiba-Fujitsu, Acer, HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung, ZTE and likely the iPhone 5 (though rumor has it that the iPhone 5 will now be released in October, not September).  And on a final note, Microsoft might be cancelling their deal with Twitter, with Bing being able to acquire real-time information from Twitter.  The change is a result of Twitter hoping to increase their licensing fee to $30 million per year.

Of course, the other battle ground for search is social, evident by Bing’s integration with Facebook, use of Twitter content and portal through Xbox 360.  Google’s also looking to build out its socially-leveraged search capabilities with Google+, a heavily integrated social outlet now tied to most of Google’s Apps.  Mobile is also another important battleground, as Google’s updated its mobile web search tool, relying on HTML5 for a unified approach to delivering results across tablets in particular.