Apple is rumoured to be going after the jewel of Google by launching a search engine. If Apple follows through, preferring to lose about 20% of its annual profit which Google pays it, it would be a new dawn in frenemy confrontation in big tech. But Apple may not have an option with the U.S. government suing Google for paying companies like Apple for positioning Google search in browsers (like Apple’s Safari) and other gateways.
Largely, Apple does not see that payment to survive the court case, and if it does not have an alternative, it may miss that money even as it serves Google since many Apple users will end up using Google search, the industry best. So, the best plan would be to build a search in-house as the future looks like the one where that annual transfer from Google may not be coming.
Apple has a growing interest in search technology and might even be working on a product to compete with Google, according to The Financial Times.
The most visible change is the fact that in iOS 14, Apple is now showing its own results when you type queries in the home screen. In addition, there seems to be an increase in activity from Apple’s web crawler.
There may be more of an opportunity here as the U.S. Justice Department has sued Google over what it claims are anticompetitive behaviors around search. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean Apple and Google will soon be going head-to-head in search — it could just be a sign that Apple’s Siri voice assistant is getting more search queries. (TechCrunch newsletter)
Google controls 80% of the U.S. search market. The government noted that Google pays “mobile-phone manufacturers, carriers and browsers, like Apple Inc.’s Safari, to maintain Google as their preset, default search engine”. Apple generates about 20% of its profit from such payments from Google. If you look at it carefully, this is a circle: Google pays Apple, Google gets funds from advertisers, and sends some to Apple, provided Apple does not allow another company into the party. Apple is happy since it is guaranteed a solid inflow. Government thinks that is illegal. Now, with that Apple-Google arrangement on shaky grounds, Apple wants to bail out by building its own search product. That is an attack on Google’s one oasis.