When the new iPhone debuts in June, Microsoft's search engine could be the new default choice, according to a report in TechCrunch. However, a source told CNET that, while there have been on-again, off-again talks about Bing being added as an option, Google is likely to remain the default search engine (see updates below).
On Friday, TechCrunch reported that several sources, in particular those close to Google, said that Microsoft has a deal in place for Bing to be the new default search option on the iPhone. The blog is hesitant to say the deal is confirmed, however. This follows a January report in BusinessWeek that said Apple and Microsoft were at least talking about making this deal.
A Microsoft representative said the company "doesn't comment on rumor or speculation."
Google reportedly pays $100 million to Apple for the right to be the default search option on its hardware. Yahoo has been an alternate search option on the iPhone, with Microsoft now said to be in talks to be added as an option.
The speculation comes as Apple is expected to unveil a new iPhone and amid a very tense period in the once friendly relationship between Apple and Google.
Google did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Update 3:50 p.m. PDT: That was fast. TechCrunch is backing away from its initial report, saying "new sources are saying 'it's more complicated than this'" and that Google search will not be removed from the iPhone as the default option. Also, the source says Google is not paying $100 million to Apple for the search rights.
Update 4:02 p.m. PDT: SearchEngineLand says it checked with a "Microsoft insider" who is extremely skeptical of the report as well.
Update 5:30 p.m. PDT: Our own source says Microsoft has talked to Apple off and on about being one search option on the iPhone, but a deal on even that may or may not come together.
CNET's Ina Fried contributed to this report.