This article is more than 1 year old

Do you rely on Microsoft Bing Search APIs? Price hike incoming

Depending on tier you use, rises of between 257% and 900% scheduled for May 1

Updated Microsoft is implementing massive price hikes for developers that use the Bing Search API, with some of the tiers scheduled to see rises up to nine times their current level.

The overhauled price list is due to be introduced from the start of May and is applicable globally, Redmond said yesterday – potentially ruining the sabbath for employers of hard pressed software engineers.

"The existing Microsoft Bing Search APIs will increase in price effective May 1, 2023," Microsoft confirmed. "The price increase will apply to all markets. Starting May 1, 2023, you'll be charged the new price for all Microsoft Bing APIs."

Got that? So nice Microsoft felt the need to say it twice. Why is this taking place? "We periodically assess the value and pricing of our services to meet market demands and align the pricing of our products and services with customers trends and preferences."

Microsoft HQ in Redmond said the "new pricing model reflects more accurately the technology investments Bing continues to make to improve Search."

One bit of good news is that the free instance offers 1,000 transactions free per month, and that remains unchanged. However, increases for the paid instances of S1 to S9 range from 257 percent to 900 percent.

Bing Search APIs are charged based on the number API calls, and the plans are pay-as-you-go. If developers exceed the specified usage limit in a tier, usage is throttled "to be within the mentioned limit," Microsoft says.

Anyone wanting to move to a higher tier will be able to call Microsoft where an account executive will be only too happy to help.

Just weeks ago, Twitter said it was going to charge for access to its API, eliminating free use. Musk's social media platform said its dataset was among the "world's most powerful." Implementation of that decision was subsequently delayed, with no start date now mentioned.

Microsoft Bing has itself fallen under the spotlight in recent weeks, after it tested AI additions to the search engine with users across more than 160 countries. It is an integration of ChatGPT-like tech from OpenAI, which Microsoft has heavily invested in.

Google launched its own tool, Bard, but the public demo didn't go according to plan, wiping $120 billion off the company's share price in the process. However, AI-powered Bing was also found to generate false information too. Hype around generative chat AI is building.

We've asked Duck Duck Go and Ecosia, both which rely on Bing APIs, to comment on the price hikes.

Developers may find it unacceptable that Microsoft hoists price rises on them at the drop of a hat, and it perhaps shows the limitations of operating in a cloud ecosystem in which too few companies have too much power.

Could this be that AI-powered Bing is a lot more expensive in compute time? Did this force Microsoft's hand? We've asked those questions. ®

Updated at 18.03 UTC on February 20 to add

Microsoft sent a statement following publication of this article:

The new pricing model reflects more accurately the technology investments Bing continues to make to improve Search, including newer experiences such as Bing Visual Search and Bing Entity Search. Customers will also benefit from new AI integrations that improve the Bing search index experience.

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like