Microsoft has been discussing the possibility of selling its Bing search engine to Apple around 2020. The deal would replace Google as the default search engine on the iPhone manufacturer’s devices. This is reported by Bloomberg, citing knowledgeable sources.

According to them, the talks were of an exploratory nature. They were attended by Microsoft executives and Apple Senior Vice President of Services Eddy Cue.

Although no deal was eventually reached, the issue of negotiations has taken on new significance due to the current US Department of Justice lawsuit against Google. The tech giant is accused of abusing its dominant position in the Internet search industry.

The ministry is trying to prove that Google paid significant sums to developers of browsers and smartphones to include the company’s search by default. Apple’s relationship with Google is called the central issue in the case.

Microsoft launched Bing in 2009 as a competitor to Google, but the company has not been able to gain a significant market share. Google still holds the bulk of the industry share, and Bing accounts for less than 10% of search queries.