Has Microsoft given up on its dream of challenging the major players in search? The company has announced a raft of new deals in China, including a number with the Chinese government - and perhaps the most immediately interesting is the deal to replace Bing with Chinese search giant Baidu in Microsoft's Edge browser.
As Bit-Tech notes, Baidu is like the Google of China - so it does read very much like Microsoft giving up on search in the country.
Such a move might make sense for the company too: Whilst Bing has been around for years now, it still has a tiny market share compared to Google and is arguably only maintained for the sake of pride rathe than profit. Presumably the Baidu deal brings some cash Microsoft's way, and the local search kingpin is almost certainly going to provide a better service than Microsoft can.
What's interesting too is the implication for the west, where Bing's major competitor is Google. If Bing is no longer essential to the Microsoft experience in China, how much longer can it last in the US and Europe? Will CEO Satya Nadella eventually decide to lance the boil?
Perhaps the other deal of note is the tie-up with upstart phone makers Xiaomi to use Microsoft's Azure cloud platform to power its MiCloud service. Xiaomi is one of the fastest growing phone makers in China and has already made waves with its (non-Google powered) Android devices - and the expectation is that it will eventually try to conquer the rest of the world too. [Microsoft News via Bit-Tech]