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Potential inclusion of Apple’s own search engine in iOS emerges if Google faces legal setback against DOJ

Thanks to the recent antitrust lawsuit between the Justice Department and Google, search engines have become a hot topic. Specifically, there has been a lot of discussion about the deal between Google and Apple, where Google pays billions of dollars annually to be the default search engine on the iPhone. This raises the question of whether Apple will eventually create its own search engine for the iPhone.

While there have been occasional rumors about Apple developing its own search engine, many believe that Apple is unlikely to do so because of the significant amount of money it receives from Google. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple receives around $8 billion each year from Google as a share of its search ad revenue.

However, Gurman suggests that Apple could potentially earn even more money by creating its own search engine. If Apple could sell ads at a similar rate to Google, it could generate as much revenue as the Apple Watch, which reportedly earned $14 billion-$18 billion last year. Even if Apple couldn’t match Google’s ad-selling performance, Gurman believes that building its own search engine could still increase Apple’s revenue.

There are several reasons why Apple might consider exploring the idea of a search engine, even if it doesn’t ultimately pursue it for iPhone users. Firstly, it could serve as a bargaining chip in negotiations between Google and Apple regarding search revenue. Additionally, it would help Apple expand its capabilities beyond web search.

Apple has already developed its own search engines for various apps, such as the App Store, Apple TV, Maps, and News. The company has a dedicated search team led by senior vice president John Giannandrea, and they have created a next-gen search engine called “Pegasus” that is already in use on some Apple apps and will soon be available on the App Store.

One excellent example of Apple’s search capabilities is Spotlight, which scans iOS and macOS to help users find specific items on their devices. It includes web results from Bing and Google and is also integrated with Siri. Apple’s search team is even looking to incorporate generative AI support into Spotlight. Apple also has its own web crawler called Applebot, which indexes websites accessible through Spotlight and Siri.

To consider creating its own search engine, Apple would need to develop a robust advertising infrastructure. Fortunately, the company already has an ad technology team that handles search ads in the App Store and serves ads on the News, Stocks, and Weather apps. This team also works on advertising for Apple’s streaming sports content, indicating their experience in the field.

Currently, Apple’s search capabilities are limited compared to Google. Eddy Cue, Apple’s VP of Services, has stated that Google’s search engine is the best and sees no reason for Apple to create its own. However, if the court battle between Google and the DOJ results in the cancellation of their agreement, Apple may have to say goodbye to the billions it receives from Google. In that scenario, it would make sense for Apple to develop its own web search engine for iOS, build an ad sales team, and secure the advertising revenue that Google was previously providing.

In conclusion, while Apple has not yet shown a clear intention to create its own search engine, the possibility remains intriguing. With its existing search capabilities, dedicated search team, and experience in advertising, Apple could potentially explore this avenue if circumstances with Google change in the future.

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