As the rivalry between Apple and Google heats up, Microsoft appears to be moving in on Google’s former home turf. Businessweek.com is reporting that Apple and Microsoft are in talks to replace the default Google search on the Safari browser with Bing on the iPhone.
The talks have supposedly been underway for weeks and might be coming to a close; it's possible that Apple will announce the new partnership at its press event next week. It’s unclear if users would be able to switch the default search engine after the deal is struck but the end result will probably be something similar to the deal Microsoft struck with Verizon.
Apple and Google have been going head to head in nearly all areas after Eric Schmidt resigned from the board of directors at Apple over a “conflict of interest”. The two now battle in phone platforms, browsers, and soon to be OS markets.
Currently, new iPhone users are given Google as their default option, with Yahoo! as an option in the settings. Users wishing to search with Bing have to do so through their website or via the Bing iPhone app. The deal isn't seen as a long-term agreement, though. Sources familiar with the company state that Apple may just be buying itself time while it develops its own "skunk works" search engine. However, if Apple does sign with Bing, it’s one more step in the isolation of Google and Apple.
Neowin reporter Michael Brown contributed to this article.