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Microsoft looking to pull end-around on Google?

Microsoft is reportedly moving to reel in Verizon Wireless, which seemed close to doing a deal with Google.

Google, which reportedly has been talking with Verizon about making its search engine the default on most Verizon phones, better close the deal soon--and get it in writing. That's because The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Microsoft is attempting to pry the deal away.

"Microsoft has gotten the mobile carrier's attention by offering a sweeter deal to put its search service and related advertising on Verizon phones. Microsoft is also offering more generous revenue sharing and a guarantee of substantially higher payments to Verizon, say people familiar with the matter."

"Google has been in discussions for months with Verizon to make its search engine the default on most Verizon phones, according to these people."

If true, this comes straight out of the same playbook Microsoft used in the 1990s to gut Netscape. During the browser wars, Netscape struck a deal with America Online, at the time the leading online service provider. But Microsoft moved in quickly and negotiated a deal in which AOL made Microsoft's Internet Explorer its default browser in 1996. In return, Microsoft offered a promotional spot for AOL on the opening screen of all Windows-based computers. This was a huge deal at the time as it put IE in front of AOL's (then) approximately 5 million users.