Microsoft has done a deal with Hewlett-Packard.

From January next year (2009), all HP PCs sold in the US and Canada will come with Microsoft Live Search as the default browser.

"This is the most significant distribution deal for live search that Microsoft has ever done", said Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's platforms and services division.

The toolbar will also have links to HP's online services.

The move is part of a wider bid by the computing giant to take on Google in the search engine market.

At the moment - Google dominates the internet search engine market, handling 10 times more traffic than Microsoft's Live Search.

Yahoo handles twice as much, but it could soon part of Microsoft if the current talks, for the sale of the search engine business, continue.

In the meantime, Microsoft will be hoping that this HP deal will introduce more people to its search engine and perhaps lure them away from Google and Yahoo.

Microsoft has a similar but smaller arrangement with China's Lenovo Group, while Google has a distribution deal with Dell and Mozilla's Firefox web browser.