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March 28, 2023

How Microsoft Conquers the Chatbot Landscape

Microsoft has reduced alternative chatbot and search engine startups' chances of prospering

Recently, Microsoft released a new version of Bing that integrates its search engine with OpenAI's ChatGPT bot. This integration aims to enhance the user experience by providing more conversational and human-like answers instead of merely presenting a list of links that may or may not be relevant. However, vaguely disclosed and outlined details around the new integration, show that it could negatively affect companies that provide alternative search engines and chatbots. As it appears, Microsoft doesn't tolerate any form of competition and instead aims to limit opportunities and chances. A practice that Google has done for a long time and has been criticized for. Microsoft itself has been directly negatively influenced by this practice.

Up until now, startups have relied on licensing search results from Bing to access a large index of the web and develop their search features. Microsoft's launch of its Bing search chatbot, which utilizes OpenAI's ChatGPT technology, has raised concerns among startups that Microsoft is edging out its search data customers to gain more market share. As a result of Microsoft's announcement of a significant increase in standard fees for search data, as well as a new rule that makes it difficult for startups to compete with Bing chat and Google's Bard chatbot, these concerns have increased.

After Microsoft launched Bing chat in February, it announced a week later that it would be increasing its standard fees for search data, which could be ten times higher starting in May. It will cost startups up to $200 per 1,000 Bing queries if they launch their LLM-powered search bot, a significant increase over the previous $7 price or the new $25 price that will take effect in May. The new Microsoft prices are unreachable for small companies and startups focused on developing search engine chatbots, especially during the current recession.

Bing APIs allow other search engines to send queries to Bing and receive ads-free results, including similar searches and spelling suggestions. By doing so, these search engines can display these results to their users. From DuckDuckGo, founded in the late 2000s, to, launched recently, nearly every Western startup that has strived to compete with Google has relied heavily on Bing.

As a result of the increased price, the digital landscape is once again closing to the same key actors, eliminating any possibility for alternativeness and change. In the process, the question that search startups raise, "How to surface the current search engine environment?" remains unanswered.

Elitsa Kaleva
Elitsa Kaleva
Content Writer at TechNews180
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