Why doesn’t Apple do its own search engine?

“In 2013, Apple sold about 150 million iPhones and about 70 million iPads,” Ashraf Eassa writes for Seeking Alpha. “It’s probably safe to assume that the vast majority of these Apple customers use their phones to surf the web, and the odds are pretty good that they’re using the built-in, Apple-designed Safari browser to do that searching.”

“Apple doesn’t have its own search engine, so Google and Microsoft benefit — the latter’s search technology powers Yahoo! as well,” Eassa writes. “Could Apple develop search to cash in on this large install base of iOS devices?”

“Building a world-class, global search engine is not easy, and as talented as Apple’s engineering teams are, creating one from scratch would require a significant investment and would likely take quite a long time to do properly,” Eassa writes. “Buying a world-class search engine would be impossible unless Microsoft were willing to part with Bing, and even then, it’s unclear if Apple would be able to morph Bing into something that provides a better user experience than Google search does today.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: DuckDuckGo.

40 Comments

      1. You kids today with your Sherlocks on your candy colored iMacs. Pshaw! That’s nothing more than a cheap Watson knockoff.

        Me… I’m old school, rocking Veronica searches on Gopher, when I’m not doing Archie searches on FTP.

    1. I wish I could share your optimism, but the reality is that almost all search engines exist primarily to sell ads.

      Apple — if it still cares about its user experience — could buck the trend by offering the user intelligent search results that are not dominated by top advertisers and megacorporations. Sadly, that takes work, and Apple has much catching up to do on other fronts as well – Maps, iOS file system, filtered searches, etc.

      For example, until Siri or whatever Apple search tool you choose can reliably recommend a small independent family restaurant if you asked for one, then intelligent people will just stick with the old useful search engine that allows for complex filtered searches. Siri just doesn’t do that well at all. Even when you provide the address, she doesn’t always get it right. Corrections sent to Apple receive no response. One gets the impression that Siri just doesn’t care.

  1. Apple could still do more in this area beyond Siri. And then take away Google’s main revenue stream in the process, cutting off their ad revenue oxygen. Would love to see Eric Schmidt & Larry Page do a little gasping for air.

  2. The vulture waits on the snarled branch of a dead tree, patiently. Microsoft is barely moving now and will soon be dead—it’s Bing for the feast tonight!

  3. Since Yahoo is already actively trying to distance itself from reliance on Bing, a Yahoo/Apple deal may already be in the cards. It would be a big win for both. Why else would Yahoo decide to go it alone unless it already had a better partner?

  4. Really, with all the things Apple should be doing by now, you come up with search.

    There are entire markets that Apple has ignored that people have to use a Windows PC to work in. Search isn’t one of them. How about trying to cut a 3D object on a CNC machine. You know, like any of the ones used to make everything you like to use in the real world. And Apple makes their loyal users have to do it in the Windows PC world. Tim Cook and the Apple board, it is software. Take an hour of Apple’s profits and buy one of the software companies and rewrite the code for a Mac and iOS device. Then, give it away for free to your customers. You would take that market in a day! You would have the Macs back logged for another half year!

    And you come up with search.

  5. Once they get Maps right, then I’ll entertain this as a possible good idea for Apple. Until then, I think Apple should just focus on making sure all their currently released products are great. The last thing Apple needs now is to send their best engineers off on massive tangent to build or maintain a search engine.

  6. I use DuckDuckGo for 90% of my Search Queries. Then I try Bing. Only as a last resort do I try Google. Because of Google’s appalling copycat behavior vis-a-vis iPhone, their smug, snarky comments about Apple and iOS, and Google’s relentless privacy invasion, I avoid giving Google business whenever possible. Try DuckDuckGo, it works quite well!

  7. Why would Apple have to buy Bing? Microsoft could keep Bing and sell Apple the data. Apple could take it, reformat it as they see fit, and start up their own search engine.

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