Apple appears poised to take a technological lead against Microsoft in terms of integrated hard drive and Web search technologies, according to Information Week.

The report looks at the upcoming battle of the search engines, following Apple's news about Mac OS 10.4 and Safari 2 this week, and Microsoft's launch of its own new search engine that the company hopes will further extend its technological hegemony.

Microsoft's ultimate aim is to deliver technology that lets users search their hard drives and the Web using a single tool; and this is an aim shared with Apple.

Mac OS 10.4 Tiger will offer its own powerful integrated search engine when it ships next year – a year ahead of Microsoft's likely release date for its forthcoming OS, Longhorn.

During his keynote speech, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said it is: "Easier to find something from among a billion Web pages with Google than it is to find something on your hard disk."

Analyst Tim Bajarin told Information Week: "Neither Apple nor Microsoft has said that this global hard-drive search is trivial. But it is clear if Apple delivers Tiger in the first half of '05, it's going to have quite a lead on Longhorn in that area."