What's that snow leopard doing on Microsoft's Live Search?

Sure it could be a silly coincidence or some friendly taunting. But what if it were a harbinger of some sort of deal.

There's a Snow Leopard on Live Search for sure. But could Live Search be inside Snow Leopard? Ina Fried/CNET Networks

Those of us with too much bandwidth and too little life (yours truly included) are wondering just why Microsoft chose to make a snow leopard the backdrop photo on Live Search on Thursday.

Even though Microsoft puts a new picture on the site each day, surely it hasn't exhausted all the images that are not references to competitor's products.

As TechFlash points out, the fact that Microsoft has the mascot for Apple's next operating system could be cluelessness on Microsoft's point. Or it could be hubris.

But another crazy thought crossed my mind. What if Microsoft has landed a deal to make Live Search the default in the next version of the Mac OS. For a long time now, Apple's Safari has had a Google search bar built-in. I don't know how much traffic that generates for the search giant, but it would seem to be at least as significant as some of the PC deals that Microsoft is paying good money to get.

Obvious animosities aside, mightn't a deal make sense. Microsoft has talked about needing to spend some money to boost Live Search share.

If it is the case, would Microsoft and/or Apple be crazy enough to tip their hand? It seems unlikely. But, even if that's not the reason that the Snow Leopard is there, would such a deal make sense?

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