In its attempt to distance itself from collaborations with Google, Apple is rumoured to be dropping the search giant as its default search engine within Safari.
According to The Information, Google’s deal with Apple comes to an end in 2015 and it is uncertain whether the contract will be renewed. Sources claim that although it cannot be guaranteed that Apple will drop its Google support for Safari, the tech giant is actively seeking alternative options. Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, has reportedly been in discussions with Microsoft and Yahoo about the opportunity to replace Google.
It is thought that Microsoft holds the competitive edge as Apple has already replaced Siri’s default search with Bing, and its search functionality is also deployed on other Apple platform applications, including Spotlight.
Apple would not be the first firm to reconsider its partnership with Google recently. Firefox turned Google away last week, choosing to replace it with Bing-powered Yahoo as the default search provider.
It was not clear how much Google fought, if at all, to try and uphold its position within Firefox, considering its shrinking market share (down to 16% in October 2014) and poor mobile presence.
However, losing Safari would mean a big upset for Google. Despite a minuscule share in the desktop market (5%), Safari claims dominance in browsing from mobile devices with a 45% share.
This latest rift in Google and Apple’s turbulent relationship harks back to when the search giant entered into the smartphone market, unveiling Android to compete with the iPhone. Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, famously vowed to “go thermonuclear […] and destroy Android” believing that it was “a stolen product.”
Yesterday Apple became the first U.S. company to pass a valuation of $700bn. It seems therefore that whichever search service Apple decides to partner with, it will define the future of the search market.