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Report: Microsoft tried and FAILED to offload Bing on Facebook

Cites anon insiders familiar with talks

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Mark Zuckerberg reportedly declined to take Microsoft's Bing off the software vendor's hands last year.

According to a New York Times report about Facebook and Microsoft's recent patent deal that once again underlined the strategic partnership between the two outfits, some Redmond execs were super-keen to offload its search engine to Zuck.

MS wonks – without any official backing from boss Steve Ballmer – apparently approached Facebook with the idea of acquiring Microsoft's loss-making Bing, which is dwarfed by Google's search engine.

Facebook already has a cosy relationship with Microsoft, which included an exclusive search arrangement with the company. MS bought a $240m stake in the network way back in 2007.

But Zuckerberg wasn't interested in building up his own search engine within Facebook when approached by several Microsoft wonks about a year ago because he's been too busy, the NYT reported, which cited several anonymous insiders familiar with the talks.

That said, Facebook has apparently been trying to improve its search feature.

Lars Rasmussen – who built the original Google Maps alongside his brother Jens before taking charge of the unloved and quickly dumped Google Wave – defected from the Chocolate Factory to Facebook in October 2010.

He is reportedly working on the project with around 25 engineers at the world's biggest social network, where they are focusing on making Facebook return more intelligent search queries. The firm's "Like" button is the centrepiece of that action. ®

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