Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates says the rise of AI poses a threat to Google’s search engine profit
- Bill Gates said in a podcast Google’s search engine profits could fall as Microsoft moves into AI.
- Gates said AI is the “biggest thing in this decade” and could reshuffle the tech space.
- Microsoft unveiled an AI-powered Bing in a challenge to Google’s search engine dominance.
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Bill Gates — the cofounder of tech giant Microsoft — said Google’s profits from its search engine are likely to fall in the future because the company he cofounded has been able to move rapidly on artificial intelligence.
Gates was speaking on a Monday episode of “In Good Company,” a podcast hosted by Norwegian sovereign wealth fund boss Nicolai Tangen, when he said: “Google has owned all of the search profits, so the search profits will be down, and their share of it may be down because Microsoft has been able to move fairly fast on that one.”
For context, Google posted $224 billion in advertising revenues in 2022 — far dwarfing Microsoft’s $18 billion in advertising revenues.
Earlier in February, Gates had told Forbes that AI is “every bit as important as the PC, as the internet.” On the podcast, he admitted to being surprised by how the development of AI accelerated in the last year but said it will be the “biggest thing in this decade.”
His comments came two weeks after Microsoft unveiled an AI-powered version of its Bing search engine, which pits itself as a challenger to Google’s dominance in the search space.
Google has dominated search for the past two decades and according to web analytics service Statcounter, it accounts for about 93% of the global search-engine market, while Bing accounts for about 3%.
Just as Microsoft launched Bing, Alphabet — Google’s parent company — also unveiled an AI service called Bard. Both the new Bing and Bard are open to test users.
While Gates said on the podcast he was “not sure” there’ll be a winner from the AI race, at least one prominent analyst — Wedbush’s Dan Ives— said Microsoft is “leading the pack” in the AI race right now.
What Gates eventually envisions for AI’s integration into search engines is a “personal agent” that understands the requirements and style of users — replacing the need for separate services from different tech companies like what’s happening now with Google dominating search, Amazon owning shopping, Microsoft owning productivity tools, and Apple owning the devices market.
“A decade from now, we won’t think of those businesses as separate, because the AI will know you so well that when you’re buying gifts or planning trips, it won’t care if Amazon has the best price, if someone else has a better price — you won’t even need to think about it,” Gates said on the podcast. “So it’s a pretty dramatic potential reshuffling of how tech markets look.”