Rumors of Apple running into Microsoft’s arms and adopting Bing on the iPhone have yet to come to fruition, but it appears that it wasn’t the only company mulling over the idea. On Thursday, Motorola announced that it would switch from Google to Bing as the default provider for search and maps on – perversely enough – Google-powered Android phones.
A partnership between Microsoft and Motorola will see the launch of Motorola phones with Bing already bookmarked in the Android browser, and add a preinstalled Bing widget. Initially, the deal will only apply to phones sold in China, where the company will roll out the changes immediately in new phones and retroactively through over-the-air updates in older models. Motorola hasn’t explicitly drawn out whether or not the alliance might eventually expand to other countries.
Back in January, Motorola signed a similar deal with Chinese search giant Baidu, which holds the title of number on search engine in China. Because Google has recently sparred with Chinese authorities over censorship, both search engine swaps could be seen as Motorola’s attempt to insulate itself from any fallout if Google decides to exit the market altogether, as it has threatened.
Motorola paints it as matter of options. “We believe that consumer choice is one of the most critical components to ensuring a rich and seamless client experience,” said Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services at Motorola’s mobile division, in a statement. “Motorola and Microsoft have enjoyed a longstanding collaboration and the addition of Bing services to our Android-based smartphones in China is another important step in empowering our end-users.”
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