Google Search 3.2 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

According to a report Tuesday by The Information, a technology website started by The Wall Street Journal writer Jessica Lessin, both Microsoft and Google are “fighting” to boot Google search from the iPhone and other Apple devices.

If true, the move wouldn’t be unheard of: Apple teams up with alternate search providers in markets like China.

Apple earns a small commission from search ad revenue each time a user performs a Google search from Safari’s address bar on the Mac, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

With that deal expiring sometime in 2015, Microsoft and Yahoo are now hoping the Cupertino firm won’t renew it and will instead make their respective service the default search choice on iOS.

Yahoo and Microsoft execs have reportedly already met with Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, to discuss a possible deal.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Apple already replaced Google with Bing as the default search engine for Siri. Not only that, but OS X Yosemite’s Spotlight search now delivers Bing results.

The rest of The Information’s article is behind a paywall so we could only glean tidbits from the headline and the introductory paragraph, which states that Apple is among companies “still wringing billions of dollars a year from search ads”.

With the upcoming expiration of the search distribution deal, all eyes are now on Apple’s Safari web browser, writer Amir Efrati stated. Even though Apple’s market share on mobile is below twenty percent and even less on desktop, the company sold more than 800 million iOS devices to date and more than five million Macs sold in the September quarter.

With such a strong installed base of active users, supplanting Google with a rival search service could help put a dent in Google’s search dominance. The rumor arrives following Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision last week to replace Google with Yahoo as the default search engine for the Firefox browser in the United States.

Google’s search dominance is being challenged in Europe, where the company controls 90 percent of all web searches, giving it unequaled power it doesn’t enjoy in the United States.

In addition to dealing with Europe’s new “right to be forgotten” rule, Google is also facing a EU resolution proposing to separate its search business from the rest of the company.

The plan to break up Google in Europe drew ire from the United States officials who argue politicians “should not influence the EU’s antitrust inquiry into the world’s most popular Internet search engine,” according to a Reuters report today.

[The Information]