Microsoft Trying To Split Google, Verizon

    November 10, 2008

Late last week, Steve Ballmer mocked Android and Google’s position in the mobile market.  The insults seemed genuine.  But even if Microsoft really doesn’t see Google as a threat, it’s taking no chances, as new reports have the Redmond-based company trying to grab a deal with Verizon Wireless.

The Wall Street Journal, of all sources, even went so far as to use the word "steal."  Its article then continued, "Microsoft has gotten the mobile carrier’s attention by offering a sweeter deal to put its search service and related advertising on Verizon phones.  Microsoft is also offering more generous revenue sharing and a guarantee of substantially higher payments to Verizon, say people familiar with the matter."

Since Verizon is the second-largest U.S. mobile carrier, the stakes might be high – default and direct access for a search provider to all sorts of people.  Or they might not, since defaults can be changed and the mobile search market still isn’t very big.

This should be interesting to watch, though, as some sort of bidding war between Microsoft and Google may develop.  Between trying to accommodate the current economic crisis and position themselves for the future, both companies would probably have to do more than simply throw money at Verizon.

Don’t be surprised if antitrust officials become involved, too, although at this point, it’s almost hard to say which side they’d view with more suspicion.