Apple is in talks with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine on the iPhone instead of Google, BusinessWeek magazine reported on Wednesday.
BusinessWeek, citing two people familiar with the matter, said the talks have been under way for weeks and reflect the growing rivalry between Apple and Google, which is currently the default search engine on the iPhone.
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt resigned last year from Apple's board of directors and the Internet search and advertising giant recently came out with a smartphone of its own, the Nexus One, seen as a rival to Apple's iPhone.
Apple also recently bought mobile advertising company Quattro Wireless, two months after Google purchased Quattro Wireless rival AdMob.
BusinessWeek said the discussions between Apple and Microsoft on replacing Google with Bing, which Microsoft launched in June, could still unravel and may not be concluded quickly.
The magazine noted that being the default Web search engine on the iPhone carries financial benefits for Google, which collects money from advertising placed alongside search results and shares it with Apple.
BusinessWeek, which was bought recently by Bloomberg financial news agency, said that making Bing the default search engine on the iPhone could require users to adjust the phone settings if they want to search the Web using Google.
The magazine also said that Apple is looking at providing a search option itself and that a deal with Microsoft may be "about buying itself time."
Google is the overwhelming Web search leader with a 65.7 percent share of the US search market in December compared with just 10.7 percent for Bing, according to tracking firm comScore, and also dominates in mobile search.
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