After exiting the display advertising business, selling its map technology to Uber and entering a search deal with AOL, Microsoft capped off its manic Monday by announcing that its Bing search engine is now a self-sustained business.
Over the past six years, Microsoft has grown Bing into a search advertising force. “It’s a multibillion dollar business, and it does pay for itself right now," Rik van der Kooi, the head of Microsoft’s ad business, told Marketing Land. "Our commitment to Bing is very deep and therefore critical for us to continue to monetize that business.”
Van der Kooi's comments came after Microsoft announced that it was handing over control of its display business to AOL and AppNexus, essentially exiting a market the company invested billions of dollars into but was never able to crack. But while Microsoft failed with display advertising, its search business has slowly turned into a unit that is now contributing to the company's bottom line.
"Today’s news is evidence of Microsoft’s increased focus on our strengths: in this case, search and search advertising and building great content and consumer services," Microsoft said in a blog post. "The evolution in our approach to display advertising allows us to keep this focus, while working with industry leaders to market our services."
Although Bing still only accounts for about 20 percent of the U.S. desktop search market, Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research, estimates that the search engine generates nearly a billion dollars per quarter in advertising revenue, and once Bing starts powering AOL's search results and advertisements next year, the Microsoft search engine will almost certainly crack that billion-dollar mark, Dawson said in a blog post.