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Microsoft helps Apple users discover apps on the iPhone

Microsoft is updating its search engine Bing to make it easier for Apple users to stumble across "that magic app that you never would have thought to search for."

Some of the app discovery improvements Microsoft is now offering on Bing include Auto app discovery, Explicit App Search and Deep Launch into Apps.

"At Bing, we are helping people with this 'serendipitous discovery' by surfacing relevant apps automatically in the context of normal search queries," said Mujahid Hasan, program manager, Bing.

Microsoft hopes to entice iPhone users away from app discovery services such as App Shopper, Zwapp, Appsfire, GetJar, Quixey by integrating direct links to apps in its search results - searching for Facebook on Bing will automatically provide users with a link to the Facebook app for iPhone.

"Bing not only helps to find apps, but can also launch some of the installed apps directly from the app search results," said Hasan. "If an App is not installed on your phone, when you click on the download link Bing takes you to download the app from the iTunes App Store. If the App is already installed and the developer has enabled the launch functionality, then it will launch automatically."

Microsoft announced a similar search-to-app feature for its forthcoming Windows Phone operating system, Windows Phone Mango, in May in an attempt to direct users away from a "sea of disconnected apps."

Deep Launch into Apps is available for more than 50 apps on Apple's iOS including Yelp, Facebook and IMDb said Microsoft.

To search for apps using Microsoft’s Bing, download the Bing for Mobile app or visit m.bing.com on your iPhone.