“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It’s an ancient proverb being revived amid reports Apple is turning to its old foe Microsoft to blunt the growth of Cupertino’s newest rival, Google. Apple is mulling making Microsoft’s Bing the iPhone’s default search engine as it increasingly competes with the Mountain View, Calif. Internet giant.
The BusinessWeek report cites two people “allegedly familiar” with the discussions between Apple and Microsoft. The publication says the Redmond, Wash. software giant “is now a pawn” in the struggle between Apple and Google over handsets, browsers, operating systems and advertising.
In another move highlighting the increased rivalry, Apple recently created a new position – vice president of Mobile Advertising – and filled it with Andy Miller, former CEO of Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising firm the iPhone and iPod maker purchased for $275 million. The acquisition of Quattro followed Google wooing, then winning adMob, Quattro’s chief rival.
The report suggests Apple may prefer to eventually go it alone in the mobile search arena, without Google or Microsoft. The Cupertino, Calif. firm has created a “skunk works” with the aim of developing its own mobile search platform, according to the publication.
Apple now likens its move into mobile advertising as what it accomplished with the iPhone and iPod. Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs envisions his company overhauling mobile advertising in the same way it changed the face of phones and music players. The company may take a page from Google, earning revenue from ads in App Store software.
With the two companies going after so many similar markets, in 2009 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission began looking into whether there were any improper ties between the two firms. That action led to Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigning from Apple’s board of directors.