Tech giant Apple may be on the verge of creating its own search engines, diversifying from its long-standing reliance on Google, according to a recent report.
Ties with Google
For over a decade, Google has held the coveted position of the default search engines on iPhones, with estimates suggesting that the search giant pays Apple an annual sum ranging between $8 billion and $12 billion as part of this agreement. However, this lucrative deal has come under scrutiny due to allegations by the US government that Google is maintaining a monopoly in online search and advertising sales.
In a recent edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman contemplates the possibility of Apple severing ties with Google in favor of a proprietary search engine. Gurman suggests that such a move could be financially beneficial for Apple, potentially generating advertising revenue comparable to that of the Apple Watch market.
Laying the groundwork
While acknowledging the idea as a “long shot,” Gurman points out that Apple has already laid the groundwork for a search engine. The tech giant has discreetly integrated search engines into various services such as the App Store, Maps, Apple TV, and News. Apple’s endeavors include the development of a next-generation search engine codenamed Pegasus, led by John Giannandrea, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Machine Learning and AI. This technology, which has been gradually introduced into some apps, promises more accurate search results.
The speculation about Apple’s potential search engine coincides with the ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Google, initiated by the US Department of Justice. Apple, a significant player in this legal battle, has been summoned as a witness due to its multi-billion dollar agreement that designates Google as the default search engine on iPhones. The government accuses Google of monopolizing online search and advertising sales.
John Giannandrea, during his testimony in the lawsuit, revealed a new feature in iOS 17 that allows users to change the default search engine on their iPhones while using Safari in private browsing mode. With iOS 17, users can set two default search engines—one for regular browsing and another for private browsing.
As reports circulate about Apple’s potential venture into the search engines realm, the tech giant remains tight-lipped. Apple has yet to respond to inquiries seeking comment on the speculation. The industry awaits further developments as Apple contemplates a significant shift in its long-standing partnership with Google.