Is Apple Search on the Way?

August 9th, 2009

The recent resignation of Google CEO Eric Schmidt from Apple’s Board of Directors has rekindled the idea of Apple building a search engine of its own. Both companies are competitors on various fronts. For example, Google’s Chrome browser competes against Apple’s Safari, and Google’s android operating system for smartphones contends with Apple’s iPhone system.

A major reason tech experts assume Apple is launching search is due to a struggle to obtain a search function on the iPhone. A unique search engine would fit hand-in-hand with Apple’s Safari web browser. Apple may have missed out on an opportunity now that Microsoft and Yahoo! have negotiated a search deal, but the introduction of a new search tool could bring a third party into the race for search superiority.

A change could take users away from Google, which is currently the default search tool for Safari. Many Apple fans would make the switch, which could account for up to five percent of the search market, along with all iPhone users.

Despite the potential gains, Apple Search remains a rumor, as there is little proof of the company organizing a search program. Another possibility is a search engine with results powered by Google. A partnership could make sense. Google already pays Apple from earnings through Safari, and Apple could also use help in advertising.

While Apple does want to improve the search options for devices like the iPhone, the introduction of a full-fledged search engine seems unlikely at the moment. However, the possibility of a search partnership with Google is interesting, potentially giving Google an ally in its battle with Bing and Yahoo! while also certainly brining up antitrust whispers.

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