The Microsoft-Google enmity is one of the very interesting rivalries in the tech world, and the Windows maker has just taken another hit at its archenemy. The Verge has learned that Microsoft has purposely removed the option for Nokia Lumia owners to select Google Search as their default smartphone engine on newly launched devices, including the Lumia 630 and Lumia 930. Interestingly though, some European versions of the handsets do let users select Google Search as the default search engine for online queries, and Microsoft has not commented on the matter.
Existing Lumia handsets are not affected by the change, even if they’re running the Windows Phone 8.1 update.
Until now, Microsoft allowed Windows Phone users to change the default search engine in Internet Explorer, but not the behavior of the physical search button. However, these new Lumias won’t even let handset owners select a different search engine inside the browser.
This marks a new episode in the search engines’ war to win desktop and mobile users. Both Google and Apple allow Android and iOS users, respectively, to select their default search engine on their devices. However, Apple is probably as interested in removing Google from its screens as Microsoft, although the company is yet to fully ditch Google Search in favor of a competitor, whether Yahoo or Bing.
For what it’s worth, Apple relies on Bing for Siri searches, and made Bing the default search option in its new Spotlight search assistant that will be available in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 this fall. However, users will likely still be able to fall back to Google Search if needed.
As for Windows Phone users looking to Google for stuff on these new devices, they’ll still be able to do it by going to Google.com in their browsers.