According to people familiar with the dispute, Microsoft Corp. is about 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.
The software maker licenses the data in its Bing search index - a map of the internet that can be scanned in real time - to other companies that offer web search, such as Apollo Global Management Inc.'s Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. In February Microsoft added a cousin of ChatGPT, OpenAI's AI-powered chat technology, into Bing.
Rivals started to roll out their own AI chatbots due to the buzz around the buzzy technology. This week, Alphabet Inc. released Bard, its conversational AI product. DuckAssist, a search engine that emphasizes privacy, has 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-powered search services, YouChat and NeevaAI.
These search chatbots aim to combine the conversational skills of ChatGPT with the information provided by a conventional search engine. DuckDuckGo, You.com and Neeva s regular search engines use Bing to provide some of their information because indexing the entire web is costly because it requires servers to hold data and a constant crawl of the internet to incorporate updates. It would be a bit complicated and pricey to get together that data for a search chatbot.
Microsoft told at least two customers that using its Bing search index to feed AI chat tools is in violation of the terms of their contract, according to people who spoke anonymously because they were talking about a confidential dispute. The licenses that allow access to its search index will be removed from the Redmond, Washington-based tech company, the people said.
Microsoft didn't have an immediate comment.
If they were cut off from Microsoft's index, smaller search engines would have a hard time finding an alternative. Microsoft and Google are the only two companies that index the entire web, and Google's limitations on the use of its index have led nearly all other search engines to use Bing.
None of the ChatGPT Advances Are Moving So Fast Regulators Can't Keep Up With It.