[See Update below] Microsoft Bing will replace Google in the next version of the iPhone operating system to be released in June, we’ve heard from mulitple sources, including a high level source who claims to have been briefed on the matter. We’re not calling this more than a rumor yet, but one thing is sure – our sources close to Google in particular are speaking freely about this as fact. In January Business Week reported that Microsoft and Apple were in talks over an iPhone search deal, and the deal certainly would be brilliant for Microsoft.
There’s been speculation around Google’s future on the iPhone since last year when the first public spat broke out between the companies over the Google Voice app for the iPhone. Android’s continued gains in market share only highlight Google’s direct competition with Apple, and the fact that so many core iPhone apps, including search and maps, are controlled by Google, has been a sore point with Apple. From that post:
Multiple sources at Google tell us that in informal discussions with Apple over the last few months Apple expressed dismay at the number of core iPhone apps that are powered by Google. Search, maps, YouTube, and other key popular apps are powered by Google. Other than the browser, Apple has little else to call its own other than the core phone, contacts and calendar features.
But Google was rumored to be paying Apple $100 million a year for the search rights to iPhone, along with the ability to serve search ads. Apple would likely have stuck with them unless Microsoft was willing to pay as well, and it certainly wasn’t a lock that Google Search would be removed from the iPhone.
There were rumors yesterday that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would attend the WWDC event on June 7 to announce Visual Studio development for the iPhone, although they were quickly retracted. Our sources on this are independent of that story.
Update: Interesting – new sources are saying “It’s more complicated than this” and not to expect Google search to be removed from the iPhone next month. Also hearing that Google isn’t paying anything like $100 million/year to Apple for the search rights to the iPhone.