Microsoft signage is seen at the company's headquarters in Redmond
Microsoft says it might restrict access to its data if rival search engines continue to use it to power their own chatbots Reuters

Microsoft Corp. has warned that it will restrict its internet-search data. It is worth noting that the American technology corporation licenses this data to its rival search engines. However, search engines have been using the data to facilitate their own AI (artificial intelligence) chat products. This piece of vital information comes from people familiar with the dispute.

Last week, Microsoft Corp won the dismissal of a gamers' suit over its whopping $69 billion Activision deal. Now, the company has reportedly informed at least a couple of its customers that they are violating the terms of their contract by using the Bing search index as the basis of their AI chat tools. Notably, the Bing search index alludes to a real-time scannable internet map.

Microsoft integrates ChatGPT-like AI into Bing

Microsoft licenses its Bing search index data to search engines such as DuckDuckGo, and Apollo Global Management Inc.'s Yahoo. To recap, the company brought AI-powered Bing to Windows 11 OS via a new update in February. As expected, Microsoft's rivals immediately jumped in on the AI chatbot bandwagon to cash in on the popularity of the technology.

Google officially announced its conversational AI product dubbed Bard this week. Likewise, the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo released a new feature called DuckAssist. This feature uses artificial intelligence to generate answers to users' queries, according to a report by Gadgets 360. Neeva Inc. and search engines, which made their debut in 2021, have also launched AI-powered search services called YouChat and NeevaAI.

The search chatbots use ChatGPT's conversational skills and the information provided by the search engine. For instance,, Neeva, and DuckDuckGo's search engines rely on Bing to provide some of their information since indexing the entire web isn't easy on the pocket. This requires a continuous crawl of the web to get updates and servers for storing data. Also, using that data for AI chatbots is costly, as well as an arduous task.

The Redmond, Washington-based technology company has threatened to cancel the licenses that give its rivals access to the search index. In a statement, Microsoft said it has reached out to its partners that have failed to comply with the terms of their contracts. The company said it will continue to work with them and provide information that may come in handy for finding a solution.

If Microsoft restricts its index, newer search engines will have to find an alternative. Notably, Google and Microsoft are the only two search engines that index the entire web. However, since Google restricts the use of its index, smaller search engines have been relying on Bing to power their AI chatbots. In the meantime, Microsoft is sparing no effort to improve the overall experience of its Windows operating system.

What are chatbots and how do they work?

A chatbot is essentially a computer program that can understand a wide range of queries using AI and NLP (natural language processing). It simulates human conversation by providing automated responses to customer queries. As a result, chatbots can simplify and expedite the process of finding information on the web.

This text-based computer program was originally designed to respond to just a few simple queries. Notably, the developers integrated these answers into the chatbot. In other words, chatbots were initially meant to function like an interactive FAQ, So, they were able to provide pre-written answers to questions they were already trained on.

However, they did not work when it came to providing answers to complex queries. Newfangled chatbots adopt natural language processing. This enables them to interact with the users in a conversational way. In fact, the latest chatbots are "contextually aware," according to a report by IBM. This is primarily because they have been subject to more human language.

Newly developed AI chatbots use NLU (natural language understanding) to determine the user's needs. The next step involves using advanced AI tools to understand what the user wants to achieve. This tech uses deep learning and machine learning to increase its collection of questions and responses. As a result, they are able to accurately predict user needs and provide a correct response.