There have been suggestions for years now that the iPhone maker is quietly working on an Apple Search service, to compete with Google. That idea is back in the news today, in a report suggesting that it could be one element of a three-part “silent war” on Google.
Recent developments do support the idea that the Cupertino company is gearing up to take on Google in a much more direct fashion than it has so far …
Google has long paid Apple billions of dollars a year to be the default search engine in Safari. In other words, the search engine that is used when you simply type your search term into the combined address/search bar. That drives traffic to Google, which profits from selling ads in the search results.
Google’s payment is believed to have started at $1B in the first year, and was estimated to have risen to $18-20B last year, with an even larger payment due this year.
However, Apple uses other search engines like Microsoft’s Bing in the background, for Siri searches. It has also long been rumored that Siri and Spotlight searches are in part handled by a search engine developed by Apple itself. This idea is lent weight by the company’s occasional acquisition of search companies like Topsy Labs and Laserlike.