While Apple Inc. (AAPL  ) and Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOG  ) (GOOGL  ) Google are direct rivals with competing smartphone operating systems, the heads of both companies, Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai, wanted a stronger partnership.

The two tech leaders also wanted Apple and Google to "work as one company", which could raise the eyebrows of antitrust regulators not just in the US but around the world.

What Happened: In a 2018 meeting, Cook communicated his aspiration for a "deep deep" partnership with Google to the search giant's senior management, including CEO Sundar Pichai, reported The Verge.

In order to achieve this, Cook's idea was to integrate their services more closely, seeing no inherent barriers to strengthen their collaboration.

Pichai reacted positively, showing Google's interest in increasing iPhone numbers and a commitment to address Apple's concerns.

Cook also told Pichai that "we can take this slowly", while Pichai said he would "love to see the iPhone numbers grow and will work in good faith to answer the queries you send us."

The discussion also pointed to a willingness to overcome reluctance to share information, with Pichai proposing extending the terms of their existing agreement.

"Our vision is that we work as if we are one company," the notes say, quoting an unknown speaker.

Why It Matters: This revelation is noteworthy considering Apple's earlier stance on Google's Android operating system. In an internal email from 2013, Apple referred to Android as a "massive tracking device" before kicking off its iPhone marketing with a pro-privacy pitch.

This was part of a presentation comparing Apple's privacy practices with Google's. The internal communication was disclosed during the ongoing Google antitrust trial by the US Department of Justice.

The recent disclosure of Cook's desire for a deeper partnership with Google illustrates the evolving dynamics between the two tech giants. It remains to be seen how this relationship will unfold in the future.