Alphabet shares are on pace for their worst day in over two months following reports that Google could lose a multibillion-dollar search engine contract to Microsoft. According to the New York Times, Samsung is considering switching from Google to Microsoft’s Bing as the default search engine on its smartphones and tablets, putting a contract worth a reported $3 billion per year in jeopardy. While this represents just over 1% of Alphabet’s roughly $280 billion in annual revenue, it’s the latest indication that Google’s search engine dominance may be fading.
This comes as Microsoft has been gaining ground in the artificial intelligence (AI) space, exhibiting renewed vigor in the search market. Goldman Sachs analysts led by Kash Rangan wrote in a note to clients last month that Microsoft has an “early lead” in the AI space. This is due, in part, to its investment in OpenAI and the integration of ChatGPT into Bing and its Edge web browser. In contrast, Alphabet’s answer to ChatGPT, Bard, has received more lukewarm feedback, with Alphabet shares tanking 7% on February 8 after the chatbot provided inaccurate information during a demo.
The potential loss of the Samsung contract could have significant implications for Google’s search engine dominance. Roughly 20% of the roughly 4.4 billion smartphone users worldwide use a Samsung device, according to Counterpoint Research and GSMA Intelligence data. While Alphabet’s search engine still dominates the market, Microsoft’s growing presence in the AI space and its renewed focus on search suggests that the battle for dominance in the search engine industry is far from over. Only time will tell if Google can maintain its position as the leader in the search engine market or if Microsoft will overtake it as the most popular search engine.
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