File this under "Whoa!" According to Bloomberg, Apple is deep in talks with Microsoft (yes, its arch enemy) about kicking Google off of the iPhone and replacing it with Microsoft's Bing search service. What the what?If it weren't being reported by Bloomberg, I'd label this story as crazy talk. That said, Bloomberg claims to have knowledgeable sources who know what Apple and Microsoft are up to. Those sources say that Apple and Microsoft have been in negotiations for weeks. If concluded successfully, Microsoft's Bing search engine would become the default search engine of the iPhone.
Right now, Google is the default search engine in the iPhone's Safari Web browser. Users can choose Yahoo instead, but need to go into the iPhone's settings menus to manually make the switch. If Bing were to become the default search application, users would need to take the same steps to manually switch to Google or Yahoo. Many might not, and that would mean big bucks for Microsoft and fewer bucks for Google.
Since Day 1, the iPhone has been deeply entwined with Google's services, including search, Gmail and Google Maps. The two were seen as allies battling Microsoft. Since the iPhone's debut in 2007, Google has made a lot of changes. It has entered the mobile phone landscape with the iPhone-competing Android operating platform. That puts Google and Apple at odds. Google services are essential to the Android platform.
Beyond the browser-based search engine, Google has created a search application for the iPhone that sort of serves as a shortcut to a number of its services. Microsoft has done the same with a Bing app.
None of the three companies has commented directly on the matter. Bloomberg's sources says the talks are still in the delicate phase, and may fall apart completely. If they don't, it will be interesting to see how Google and Apple's relationship evolves moving forward.