According to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, such an offering may open up a new source of income for Apple.
Apple has the potential to develop its own search engine for its devices if it chooses to break away from its reliance on Google, as stated in a recent report. Google has been the default search engine for iPhones for over a decade, with estimates suggesting payments between $8 billion and $12 billion to Apple annually. However, complications arise from US government allegations of Google maintaining a monopoly in online search and advertising.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, in his Power On newsletter, suggests that Apple could potentially create a more lucrative alternative. Launching its own search engine could generate advertising revenue that rivals that of the Apple Watch market. Gurman acknowledges this as a “long shot” but highlights Apple’s groundwork in building search engines into various services like the App Store, Maps, Apple TV, and News.
As part of these efforts, Apple has a team working on a next-generation search engine codenamed Pegasus. Developed under the guidance of John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior vice president of machine learning and AI, this technology delivers more accurate results and is already integrated into some apps, with the possibility of appearing in the App Store in the future.
Apple has also been enhancing Spotlight, its search feature aiding iOS users in finding items on their devices. While web search results were integrated into this tool some years ago, they were sourced from either Microsoft’s Bing or Google.
This discussion about a potential Apple search engine coincides with the ongoing Google antitrust lawsuit initiated by the US Department of Justice. Apple has been involved in this lawsuit due to its multibillion-dollar deal with Google, which designates Google as the default search engine on iPhones. The US government alleges that Google maintains a monopoly in online search and advertising.
During the lawsuit, Giannandrea revealed that iOS 17 features a new option to change the default search engine in Safari’s private browsing mode. This update in iOS 17 allows users to set two default search engines: one for regular browsing and one for private browsing.
Apple has not yet provided an official response to these speculations.