The coveted role of being Apple’s default search provider for the Safari browser is going to be up for grabs soon, according to a report from Quartz, and Yahoo and Microsoft are both vying for Google’s spot.
There’s a lot at stake for the company Apple decides to go with. According to StatCounter, Safari accounted for 48% of searches on smartphones, 69% on tablets, and 9% on desktops in the US in the month of January 2015.
We know that there’s a lot of power in being a browser’s default search engine, just look at the story published this week on Google’s desktop search share. Google’s search share on desktops has been declining since being replaced by Yahoo as the default Firefox search engine. Conversely, Yahoo’s search share has been rising.
That’s Firefox though, which doesn’t command nearly the combined desktop and mobile search share that Safari does, so you can just imagine the ripple effect that will take place if Apple decides to side with another search provider.
Bing is thought to be the front runner for Safari’s new default search engine since it already powers search for Siri on Apple’s mobile devices, and Spotlight search on OSX.
The enormity of this deal is not lost on Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who states:
“The Safari platform is basically one of the premier search deals in the world—if not the premier search deal in the world. Safari users are among the most engaged and lucrative users in the world. And it’s something that we would really like to be able to provide.”
Analysts are speculating that Yahoo doesn’t stand as much of a chance as Bing at securing this deal — Yahoo’s search capabilities haven’t improved as much as Bing’s have over the past couple years.
Of course, Apple could always renew the deal with Google, but the thought is that may not happen since the two companies are technically competitors. Google’s voice search and Google Now is a threat to Siri, not to mention the Android platform being a threat to iOS.
Another scenario is that Apple goes at it alone with its own search engine. We reported several months ago that it looked like Apple may be developing its own search engine — was this the company’s plans all along?
All these questions will be answered in the months to come.