Report: Microsoft takes aim at Verizon Wireless search

By , IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless, Microsoft, search

Microsoft is making a pitch to be the default search provider on Verizon Wireless mobile phones, in an effort to steal the business from rival Google, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal Friday.

Google has been negotiating with Verizon Wireless for months to be the default search engine on the carrier's mobile phones, but Microsoft has recently made its own pitch, with reportedly higher revenue sharing for Verizon, The Wall Street Journal reported.

A Verizon Wireless spokesman declined to comment on the carrier's search negotiations. "We don't have any interest in negotiating our business relationships in the media," said Jeffrey Nelson, executive director of corporate communications for Verizon Wireless.

A Google spokesman declined to comment on the proposed deal. A representative of Microsoft was not available for comment.

Verizon Wireless hasn't made a decision on which search provider to use, according to the news report.

Microsoft saw an opening with Google focused on a proposed advertising deal with Yahoo, the news report said. Google on Wednesday withdrew the proposed deal after the U.S. Department of Justice appeared to be moving toward taking action to block the deal.

"This sounds like good old competition, which implies that neither of these firms can exert monopoly power in the market for search applications on cell phones," Professor Keith Hylton, an antitrust specialist in the Boston University School of Law, said in an e-mail. "Whether Microsoft or Google finally gets the deal with Verizon, the competition to outbid each other for will benefit consumers."

Verizon Wireless is the second largest mobile phone provider in the U.S.

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