Kara Swisher

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Microsoft’s Bing App Debuts on iPhone–So, When’s the Android Version Coming? (Plus Screenshots!)


Microsoft’s feisty little search service, Bing, has finally made an iPhone app, which is now up at the Apple iTunes app store.

Bing planned to show off the free application at a party thrown by its mobile team in San Francisco tonight, but BoomTown found it live on the site much earlier.

Information about the new app is also now on Microsoft’s Bing blog here.

The Bing app’s description at the iTunes Store says, “Make decisions and get where you need to go with Bing. See the Bing daily image and related trivia on the home screen. Search maps or the Web with your voice–even say an address. Use Image Search and flick through previews. Download Bing today to find stuff nearby and get there fast.”

A Bing PR email noted that key features of the app include a daily image from Bing.com; easy-to-access voice search; tips and tricks on the homepage; “Locate Me” functionality; and the ability to add pushpins, save locations and show multiple locations on a single map.

It’s all a sweet little irony, since Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL) have been frenemies over the years.

But bowing to the power of the iPhone as the premier smartphone out there, Bing has to be on its ubiquitous platform if it wants to compete with Google (GOOG) and others in the mobile arena.

In related news, according to November data from comScore (SCOR), Bing’s market share rose to 10 percent. The growth is coming, apparently, from Microsoft’s new search partner, Yahoo (YHOO), rather than from Google.

Before all the hell-has-frozen-over jokes let loose, it should be noted that Microsoft already has some apps for the iPhone, such as the one for its Seadragon photo app, a Tag Reader app and various manual book apps.

And, while others have made apps that allow Microsoft’s popular software to work on the Apple device, it has yet to release one of its own, although sources said the company is working on them.

Microsoft has already made Bing apps for Windows phones, the BlackBerry from Research in Motion (RIMM), the Sidekick and select BREW-based devices on Verizon (VZ), as well as Bing mobile from a browser.

Company execs recently showed off a spate of innovations for Bing, including new mobile features, but not in an iPhone app.

But no matter how you look at it, the iPhone app is the big time.

Here are more screenshots of the app: