or, Its all bing going wrong at Xmas?

Microsoft, the industry leader who has seen its fair share of bad news in the last few months is now experiencing problems with its scheme of bringing Bing to the iPhone.  iBing was released on the 16th December which for Microsoft was good news and the usual Microsoft excitement rolled into action with Justin Jed making these comments in regards to its touted feature “voice search”

Our investments in voice search (you may have played with them on Windows phones or BlackBerry already) continues in our iPhone App…

Great news so far?  Yes?…..Well no.

It took one day for some cracks to show in iBing when Microsoft said:

we’ve also heard about a couple of issues that we’d like to address….

Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that they were refering to a couple of minor bugs of little consequence.  So lets look at what the couple of “issues” actually are:

Using voice search outside the U.S. crashes the app.

In my opinion thats a little more than an “issue” is that not a major flaw?  Well IMO according to Microsoft its not, as the “issues” continue:

App doesn’t work on 1st generation iPod Touch

Ok, so having a first generation iPod Touch means the app is useless, ok. In my opinion slightly more than an “issue” but lets carry on.  Readers to this blog may question why Microsoft said iBing has a “couple” of issues when we are getting to our third one.  I can’t answer that.  I should maybe contact the Bing team and explain that a “couple” usually suggests two.

No search results outside the U.S.

So in my opinion what Microsoft are really saying (when you cut through the softening and PR) is:

If you live outside of the US or have a 1st generation Ipod Touch, iBing doesn’t work.

Need we say more?  Is this really the release Microsoft or the Bing team wanted?  Im sure Google will be worried. 😉 The blog post for these is here. The one thing that has surprised me here though is there does not seem to be any blaming….yet.   So since there is no 3rd party blame (yet) does that mean its Microsoft’s fault? 😉 I doubt it.

Keeping this all in mind though it was interesting to see a user called Brianm76 making the following comment on the Bing blog:

i am experiencing crashes at least 50% of the time when i search either by typing or through voice search and i am in the us with my settings set to us.  i experience a crash each time i use photo search and so do 2 of my co-workers with iphones.

But then maybe they just haven’t found the US bugs yet as a result of “listening to early good reports” [1] 😉

Microsoft now parasitic?

This Bing news comes off the back of the reports that Motzilla is allegedly talking about Bing as being more “private” than Google, news which Microsoft must have been happy about since their own browser market share is being eaten up by Firefox (IMO).  If FF is to become the browser of the future then Microsoft will want at least a little piece of that.  Is Microsoft now happy to settle for the scraps that fall off the table of Mozilla too?

You can read more on the story of Mozilla and Bing here.  But lets consider for a moment the act of Microsoft developing products for other platforms.  Theres no doubt in the popularity of iPhone so is Microsoft settling for whatever scraps fall from Apple’s table?  I would say so, one only has to look at previous deployments of WinMob to see peoples opinions of that platform.  I myself suffered WinMob on an MDA Mail for a while, a shocking experience which almost convinced me that a mobile phone was not fit for purpose for anything other than phone calls.

Lets look at a definition of Parasitism:

is a type of symbiotic relationship between two different organisms where one organism, the parasite, takes favor from the host, sometimes for a prolonged time. …

That, in my opinion sounds exactly like whats happening here.

IMO to be fair to Microsoft we can’t blame them for Bing.  They even try to warn you of the Bing product in its name.  Lets look (again) at the dictionary definition of the word “Bing”:

Bing, noun –  a heap or pile.

So lets not be too hard on Microsoft this time.  Although maybe we should? Heres an allegation from a claimed ex-Microsoft employee who didn’t get into the spirit of “Bing”


[1] – Blaming listening to early good reports is what its alleged Steve Ballmer said in relation to Vista and the subsequent reception it received.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com