Bing is now available again in the country, but it remains unclear if the outage was caused by technical issues or if the Chinese government intentionally blocked the search engine, if only temporarily.
"We can confirm that Bing was inaccessible in China, but service is now restored," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.
On one hand, Bing's disappearance came as a surprise because it had cooperated with Chinese authorities to offer censored search results. On the other, it looked like another potential casualty in the growing friction between the US and China.
It's not the first time Bing's service has been disrupted in China, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith told Fox Business Network this morning. "Periodically there are issues that arise, and sometimes those issues do lead to our service or some other services being blocked," Smith said. "And it is an area where we understand we don't have the same legal freedom that we do in other countries, but at the same time, we stick to our guns." Microsoft declined additional comment on the cause of the outage.