Is Apple Developing an Alternative to Google Search?

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Many of us search on the Web and just use Google by default without thinking about it. But what if it was not the default? There are plenty of alternatives out there. Apple is said to be developing its own search engine to possibly replace the Google search on its devices, and this information comes as the companies are wading through a Justice Department lawsuit.

Justice Department Sues Google

Before we get to a possible new search service, let’s look at why Apple is doing this.

What has come to light is that Apple earns as much as $12 billion a year from Google. They are paid this to make Google the default search engine on Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc. For Google to pay that much, it has to be very important to them.

Apple takes in these hefty payments through its “services” category. The iPhone always has been, and still is, Apple’s big moneymaker. It’s less so now, but it’s still the top earner in Apple’s stable. But its services category – Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple News+, etc. – is bringing in an increasing amount.

This amount was learned because of the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit says Google has an unfair advantage over its rivals that can’t afford to buy their way onto the iPhone.

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iPhone sales this past quarter were $26.44 billion. That sounds amazing until you learn that it was $33.36 just a year ago. Services brought in $14.55 billion, up 16 percent. Yet, the Justice Department lawsuit says nearly a quarter of that is from Google. Apple’s biggest service is what it’s getting from Google.

Is Apple in danger of losing Google and its billions? If it does, it’s not likely it will be anytime soon. It will be tied up in court for quite some time. And it could die out if the U.S. has a new president in January.

Apple’s Own Search Service

It wouldn’t hurt Apple to start developing its own search engine. If something does become of this antitrust lawsuit, Apple may not be able to make Google its default search engine. But even if it does create its own, it won’t make up $12 billion. But for a company that is the first to be valued at $2 trillion, maybe it won’t hurt them that much.

Users of iOS 14 may not have realized it, but as you can see in the image below, Apple is already working on their own search engine. Apple combined a device search with an app/website search. When you start a search, it looks for devices, emails, contacts, apps, and yes, websites, through a Siri search. Additionally, you can see the AI at play where it knew I was typing Apple One and not Apole One.

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Not only are they creating a search engine that may replace Google on its devices someday, but they’re making it more worldly by not limiting it to the World Wide Web.

The Financial Times reports that Apple is indeed looking into creating such a service and notes that it would be “an important advance” that could more fully hurt Google.

It’s worth noting that John Giannandrea, Apple’s head of artificial intelligence, at one time ran the search engine business at Google.

Not that Apple is sitting pretty, as it’s also fighting an antitrust lawsuit from Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite. It’s unknown how quickly that suit could reach an end, but it does not seem like Epic will be walking away anytime soon.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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