Microsoft Corp. is hoping to capitalize on the popularity of daily deals websites by incorporating them into its Bing search site for smart phones.
On the updated Bing mobile site, people can click on a "deals" link to see the top offers for their city from Groupon, LivingSocial and about 200 other daily coupon sites, Microsoft said. Another click shows nearby stores, restaurants and other merchants currently offering a deal, based on the phone's current location. People can also use Bing to search local deals by category.
Microsoft said it is working with The Dealmap, a company that aggregates deals by city. Microsoft analyses the information it gets from The Dealmap and displays each deal as a pinpoint on a map, so people looking for a neighborhood mechanic offering discounted oil changes, for example, could spot it at a glance.
The move comes as Microsoft tries to look for innovations through partnerships, rather than simply see a popular idea and copy it with a product of its own.
"Our strategy across Bing is to identify fast movers," said Stefan Weitz, a director in the Bing group, "and work with them, not against them."
Chicago-based Groupon and its ilk work with businesses to devise a deal, such as $10 for $20 worth of food at a local restaurant, or $50 for $100 worth of services at the auto detailer. They then post the deal online and e-mail them to members. Once a certain number of people buy in, the deal is on. The number of these group-buying coupon sites has ballooned, including some, such as Gilt Groupe, that organize sales on high-end luxury items.
Even Google Inc., the leading search engine company, is working on its own daily deals system, Google Offers.
Microsoft is bringing broader improvements to Bing mobile on Thursday, including greater use of HTML 5, which is a Web coding approach that can make websites feel more like "apps," or standalone smart phone applications.
From a smart phone browser: