Microsoft Corp. has threatened to cut off access to its internet-search data, which it licenses to rival search engines, if they don’t stop using it as the basis for their own artificial intelligence chat products, according to people familiar with the dispute.
The software maker licenses the data in its Bing search index — a map of the internet that can be quickly scanned in real time — to other companies that offer web search, such as Apollo Global Management Inc.’s Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. In February, Microsoft integrated a cousin of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s AI-powered chat technology, into Bing.
Rivals quickly moved to roll out their own AI chatbots as hype built around the buzzy technology. This week, Alphabet Inc.’s Google publicly released Bard, its conversational AI product. DuckDuckGo, a search engine that emphasizes privacy, introduced DuckAssist, a feature that uses artificial intelligence to summarize answers to search queries. You.com and Neeva Inc. — two newer search engines that debuted in 2021 — have also debuted AI-fueled search services, YouChat and NeevaAI.