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Bing on iPhone rumor returns to boil

Apple and MS 'still talking'

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Apple and Microsoft continue to negotiate the addition of Bing to the iPhone, according to a report citing sources familiar with the talks, but as things stand, this will not see the ejection of Google from Steve Jobs' handheld status symbol.

All Things Digital reports that Apple and Microsoft are engaged in "long-term" talks about including Redmond's search engine as a "prominent option" alongside Google on the Jesus Phone.

"Being an option is what’s on the table,” one source tells AllThingsDigtial. “That’s all for now, although who knows where it could lead?”

In an earlier story, TechCrunch reported that Bing would replace Google on the iPhone 4.0, almost certainly due for announcement on June 7, but this report was promptly debunked — not only by AllThingsDigital but by, um, TechCrunch itself. Alleged sources now tell TechCrunch that the situation is "more complicated" and that Bing will not boot Google from the holy handset.

As far back as last January, BusinessWeek reported that Apple and Microsoft were discussing Google's ejection from the iPhone, and since then, Apple's relationship with Mountain View has continued to sour. But it would appear that Google will retain its iPhone placement — at least for now.

Google has been the default search engine on the iPhone's Safari browser since the handset debuted in the summer of 2007, though you do have the option of switching the search box to Yahoo! In 2007, Apple and Google were rather chummy, with Mountain View CEO Eric Schmidt seated on Apple's board, and in addition to teaming on iPhone search, the two outfits co-developed the Jesus Phone incarnations of Google Maps and YouTube.

But Schmidt has since resigned from Apple's board, and after Steve Jobs dubbed Google's "don't do evil" motto "bullshit" during an Apple town hall meeting, Google hasn't been afraid to hit back in public. At Mountain View's annual developer conference last month, Google VP of engineering Vi Gundotra — a former Microsoftee — went so far as to compare Steve Jobs to Big Brother, putting the Apple CEO on the other side of that iconic 1984 Macintosh ad. ®

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