Could Microsoft sell Bing to Facebook?

facebingOK this is pretty far-fetched, but according to a post on Barron’s Tech Trader Daily blog, CNBC editor Gary Kaminsky “made passing reference to a report that apparently claims Microsoft might be considering giving its “Bing” search operations to Facebook after the latter goes public, in return for additional shares in the social networking outfit”.

Tech Trader Daily goes on to list a number of reasons why a sale (or trade for soon to be public Facebook stock) might make sense, especially to investors, who have never been happy with the $2.5 billion dollar a year drain Bing costs Microsoft’s Online Services Division.

Facebook is thought to be overhauling its search capabilities, led by a former Google engineer, Lars Rasmussen, and about two dozen Facebook engineers, according to a post on Bloomberg Businessweek’s Technology blog back on March 29th.  But a total takeover of Bing, which while it could provide a turnkey search solution for Facebook’s problems, would seem to require that Facebook power Microsoft’s search assets on Windows Phone, on Xbox (with its new Kinect powered Bing search capabilities), and on Microsoft’s vast online properties, as well as continue to run (they wouldn’t shut it down, would they?).  It seems like a stretch to us.

However, it might be time for some out-of-the-box thinking around search.  The Bing-Yahoo! Search Alliance may be up for review as Yahoo! makes radical changes in order to try and get the once powerful web portal back on track.  Yahoo! may well be taking a hard look at the search alliance and the ad technology business that goes hand in hand with search, according to a series of posts on All Things D.

Facebook needs better search, and Bing needs to get out of the red.  Could the two come to an agreement that would more closely ally Facebook and Microsoft against their mutual enemy, Google?  Maybe this isn’t so far fetched after all.