The Cortana Code

In a fiscal first quarter earnings report, released this past Thursday, Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood stated that search—and, therefore, Bing—contributed more than $1 billion to the company’s earnings for the period. A big chunk of this change, roughly 20 percent, came from Windows 10 devices.

Cortana, the personal digital assistant better known as “not Siri”, is built directly into Windows 10, a shrewd move by Microsoft which has significantly increased the number of Bing searches performed every day. Any device running Windows 10—which includes smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers—automatically gives users Bing results in searches when Cortana is used. These devices also provide Bing results as the default for “manual” searches, unless the user specifies otherwise by punching in ↑, ↑, ↓, ↓, ←, →, ←, →, B, A, start.

The thinking on Microsoft’s part is pretty simple here: Very few people use Bing if Google is an option, so just don’t give users that option. Many Cortana users probably don’t even realize that they’re receiving Bing results; many others simply may not care. Either way, by steering people directly to Bing whether they like it or not, Microsoft has made major gains on Google in the online search wars.
Yahoo’d Have Thunk?

Microsoft’s collaboration with Yahoo has been another boon to Bing’s growth. For the last…um, while now, I guess, Yahoo search results have been powered by Bing. It’s not exactly a secret, but Yahoo never really put that info front and center either. People using Yahoo search (all 30 or so of them) have received Bing results, whether they knew it or not (or wanted to).

Earlier this week, however, the relationship between Bing and Yahoo more or less ended. Yahoo announced it had struck a similar deal with Google and shown Bing the door. Despite this obvious setback, Microsoft officials still expect their search engine to break even at some point during the company’s fiscal 2016.

For more information on how Bing has grown since 2009, check Google.