Got an intriguing email from a knowledgeable source very familiar with search dynamics involving Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo for that matter.
First point: When Microsoft released its Bing app for iPhone, it became the company's best mobile search by volume of queries, better than the traffic Verizon Wireless drives to Microsoft, and Bing is already the default the search engine across that network.
Second point: This source says "Jobs hates Eric."
Third point: Every time you do a Google search from Apple's iPhone Safari and a user clicks an ad, Apple gets a payment. Microsoft, this source tells me, is willing to throw much more money to Apple to ensure that they displace Google as the default engine. If that's the case, it is an absolutely key point to getting a deal done, and if Microsoft is already venturing down that path, then these talks may be much, much further along than my Apple source earlier today suggested.
Fourth point: Along those lines, this source tells me the discussions between Microsoft and Apple have been ongoing since the October/November time frame.
Lastly, this source tells me that Jobs may not like Microsoft products, but that doesn't mean he's "anti-Microsoft." Remember a little history here, that Microsoft helped bail out Apple way back when, still provides Microsoft Office for the Mac platform, and even the original browser for the iMac in Internet Explorer. "Steve understands that Bing will give him a Search API where he can integrate search results deeper and deeper in the product without having to see the Bing web page and user-interface," says this source.
Further, this source tells me that Jobs "cannot and will not build a search engine" of his own. The amount of expertise you need to build relevance is simply not what Apple wants to do, he argues. Apple, he says, wants to inject its own ads into Maps, Weather, Stocks and Search results, so, getting a Search API from Microsoft is really what Apple wants. I'm not sure about that. I'm hearing that Apple is in fact working on a search platform of its own so it can control the entire eco-system. I'd be surprised if Apple cedes this part of the business -- especially with Google lurking -- to a partnership with Microsoft.
All interesting points. And the discussion continues…
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