Is Apple Considering Dropping Google as their Default Search Engine?

By | March 2, 2015

appleIt’s no secret that the folks over at Apple have always been a little
jealous of Google’s dominance as the Internet’s top search engine. But
the iCompany has been bogged down with too many product launches and
keeping the company strong in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death to do
anything about it.

Until now…

Word on the street is that Apple’s search deal with Google is going to
expire soon and when it does, the search engine default on the Safari
browser that comes with every Apple computer, iPhone, iPad (and now
iWatch) is going to be up for grabs. And you just know that Bing or
Yahoo (or every other search engine for that matter) would love to have
that particular piece of business.

There’s even speculation that Apple may have its own search engine in
development. After all, the company has a long history of vertical
integration.

Dumping Google Could Have Big Consequences

RKG’s Mark Ballard has stated that “roughly half of total paid search
traffic (is) at stake in 2015 if the Safari search default is really up
for grabs across devices.” That could have huge consequences that would
be felt throughout many industries.

It also could lead to a big drop in Google’s value. Imagine what would
happen to Google if Apple were to drop its search engine from its
devices. For one thing, Google would experience an immediate (and
permanent?) drop in the amount of mobile traffic, market share and paid
clicks it currently has. According to Stat Counter, Safari’s presence on
Apple-based desktops and mobile devices accounts for slightly less than
26% of all US Internet traffic. That’s more than IE. Only Chrome has a
larger share.

Another Player Waiting in the Wings?

Meanwhile, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer has publicly stated that she would like
her company to be the default search engine for Apple.

And Bing already does the searches for Siri on mobile devices and for
Apple PC’s Spotlight searches. That could mean that if Apple is planning
on dropping Google, because it already has a working relationship with
Bing, it may put their search engine at the top of their list of
candidates.

iSearch?

There’s also a lot of speculation about a recent job posting from Apple
for an “engineer projection manager” for its “Apple Search” department.
That’s a pretty strong indicator that Apple is at least considering
getting into the search engine business.

Here’s what the job posting says:

“Apple seeks a technical, driven and creative program manager to manage
backend operations projects for a search platform supporting hundreds of
millions of users. Play a part in revolutionizing how people use their
computers and mobile devices. Manage operations projects that support
groundbreaking technology and the most scalable big-data systems in
existence.”

Now, that may sound as if Apple is announcing the launch of its own
search engine, but it also could just be a bluff to improve its
negotiating position with Google, Bing, Yahoo or another player.

Does Apple Still Have the Guts to Pull Off Such a Huge Move?

There’s no question that Apple under Tim Cook is a much different
company than Apple under Steve Jobs (both times). The days of launching
industry-changing products is in the past for Apple. So the best bet
right now would be that Apple will keep its relationship with Google.

But there’s always the chance that Google may want to pull out of its
deal with Apple. After all, the search monsters pays Apple a reported
billion dollars per year in revenue sharing for its deal with the mobile
Safari.

Stay tuned to for the next episode in this high stakes corporate
Internet soap opera.

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