Bloomberg recently disclosed Apple’s ambitious endeavor to develop powerful search technology for its apps, aiming to enhance its software and refine its search capabilities. Beyond just improving user experience, Apple’s move is also strategic, as it intends to employ this technology as a bargaining chip in its ongoing relationship with Google.
Currently, Google is obliged to pay Apple a substantial sum to maintain its search engine as the default option on Apple devices. However, with the development of its own search technology, codenamed “Pegasus,” Apple seeks to strengthen its position. This newfound leverage could allow Apple to negotiate even more substantial payments from Google.
Reports from Bloomberg indicate that Apple is already incorporating its search technology into some of its applications, with plans to integrate it into the App Store in the near future. One notable instance of Apple’s collaboration with Google Search is in Spotlight, where Apple has enabled users to discover websites that can provide answers to their queries.
Although Apple has not officially launched its own search engine, the company has displayed a keen interest in the field. In September, there were speculations that Microsoft engaged in exploratory discussions with Apple in 2020, exploring the possibility of selling its Bing search engine to Apple. While the deal did not materialize, Apple continued to bolster its search capabilities for its proprietary software.
Maintaining the capability to deploy a formidable search engine serves as a strategic asset for Apple. It allows the company to exert pressure on Google, demanding higher payments to retain its search engine as the default on Apple’s operating systems. This is particularly critical in wealthier regions, where iOS commands a substantial share of the mobile market, surpassing Android in some areas. Consequently, Google is inclined to pay Apple more to maintain its default search engine status, as failing to do so could negatively impact its traffic and influence in these markets.
While the prospect of Apple launching a full-fledged search engine remains uncertain, we should bear in mind Apple’s precedent with Apple Maps. Apple ventured into mapping services despite Google Maps’ dominance, and it could potentially pursue a similar path with a search engine if it deems it advantageous in the future.