Apple is reportedly considering launching its own search engine to compete with Google, which is currently the default search engine on Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. This potential move comes as Apple generates approximately $8 billion annually through its partnership with Google, where Google pays to be the default search option.
According to a recent Bloomberg report by tech analyst Mark Gurman, Apple could significantly increase its revenue by creating an in-house search engine. Gurman suggests that Apple could potentially develop a search solution that rivals Google’s ad revenue, comparing it in scale to the Apple Watch’s success.
However, the success of such an endeavor hinges on Apple’s ability to sell ads within search results at a rate similar to Google’s. Given that a substantial portion of the global population uses Apple devices, particularly iPhones, advertising to this user base could be highly profitable. Google’s willingness to pay Apple billions for this privilege indicates the value of this user demographic.
Mark Gurman notes that Apple has been quietly working on search technology for years. Even if Apple doesn’t directly challenge Google’s search dominance, these efforts can still benefit the company by enhancing its non-web search capabilities. Additionally, Apple could leverage its search technology as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Google regarding partnership terms.
Apple’s push into the search arena is being spearheaded by John Giannandrea, a former Google executive who now leads Apple’s machine learning and artificial intelligence teams. His teams have already contributed to the development of “Pegasus,” a new search technology used in Apple’s Spotlight feature and expected to debut on the App Store soon. Apple also possesses “Applebot,” a web crawler that has been indexing website information for several years.
While Apple has a track record of successfully integrating important features and components into its ecosystem, it is not without its challenges. For example, while Apple’s transition to its custom-designed silicon chips has been a success, the company has faced setbacks in developing 5G modems. The question remains: Can Apple’s foray into search replicate its silicon success or potentially stumble like its modem efforts?