Microsoft’s Bing will be a search option on the iPhone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during this morning’s WWDC keynote, and it’s another sign that tensions between Google and Apple are mounting.
Let’s not go crazy here: Google will remain the default search on Apple’s iPhone but adding Bing, alongside Yahoo, as another search option gives Apple more leverage down the road. We know that the iPhone is a major driver of mobile search, particularly in the United States, and Google sees mobile search as the future. In fact, Google said smartphones will make desktops “irrelevant” in as little as three years and Apple’s smartphone will be a major driver of that.
The growing animosity between Google and Apple stems from the search giant entering the phone business with Android. Jobs has ripped into Google for going into this market before and he has belittled the green robot for, among other things, being for porn. The frustrations really became evident last year when Apple blocked Google Voice for Apple’s platform for “duplicating existing functionality,” although there are probably thousands of approved apps which do just that.
Android has been rapidly gaining traction too, as it recently outsold the iPhone in the first quarter in the United States (it should be noted that Apple still has about three times more market share, overall). Google’s not biting its tongue either, as its recent I/O conference was filled with snipes about the lack of openness with Apple’s mobile platform.
Microsoft is more than happy to take advantage of the beef in order for its search engine to gain traction, as Google isn’t as fully entrenched in the mobile search space as it is on the desktop. Microsoft also has a Bing App for the iPhone that includes voice searches, map directions, image searches and more. It’s still gong to be tough to get users to switch from the default but this is a nice move for Microsoft.