Analyst: Google faces ‘significant’ blow if Apple dumps them from Safari

“Google, which has seen its share of the U.S. search market already decline after being replaced in the Firefox web browser three months ago, is facing an even bigger threat should Apple also oust it from the iconic computer maker’s widely used Safari browser,” Jenn Van Grove reports for TheStreet. “‘What we’ve seen with Firefox on the desktop … has really caused a shift that hasn’t happened before,’ StatCounter founder Aodhan Cullen said. ‘This is the first time we’ve seen something that has actually moved the needle, and given Yahoo! share and taken share away from Google.’ This suggests an even bigger loss to Google — ‘significant’ to use Cullen’s word — if Apple decides not to renew its search contract with Google, which is said to expire early this year.”

“‘Apple and Google and clearly rival companies in several areas, and I think it’s entirely possible that… Safari could replace Google in the very near-term feature as the default search engine,’ Altimeter Group analyst Rebecca Lieb said,” Van Grove reports. “A Nomura analyst estimated in a January research note that Google is poised to collect $8.8 billion in gross mobile search revenue from Apple this year. Both Yahoo! and Microsoft are actively pitching Apple to take over the coveted contract, according to news outlet The Information.”

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (photo by Brigitte Lacombe)
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer (photo by Brigitte Lacombe)
“And Yahoo! chief executive Marissa Mayer candidly admitted to shareholders that she really wants the deal,” Van Grove reports. “‘The Safari platform is basically one of the premiere search engines in the world, if not the premiere search engine in the world. We are definitely in the search distribution business … and anyone who is in that business needs to be interested in the Safari deal,’ Mayer said during Yahoo!’s December quarter earnings conference call with investors. ‘The 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.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Push that big red button Steve left you, Tim!

Google’s going to rue the day they got greedy by deciding to try to work against Apple instead of with them.MacDailyNews, March 9, 2010

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Microsoft, Yahoo vie to become Apple Safari’s default search option – November 26, 2014
Firefox dumps Google for default U.S. search, switches to Yahoo/Bing – November 20, 2014

34 Comments

  1. I’ve used Yahoo on my Mac, Phone and iPad for the last year and one half. I don’t miss Google, but they are just as snoopy. I don’t feel Duck Duck Go is as good. I wish Apple would do their own search without an advertiser based model.

    1. Apple could do that, like they did Maps, but there will probably be one serious problem: like Maps, they might limit access to people using Apple devices.

      Not making it available to all users lets them operate with less resources and overhead, so it costs less and there’s not as much pressure for the business unit to be self-sustaining (e.g. less need to make money via ads, etc), but it also weakens the overall results if only Apple users are are contributing to relevancy scores via click-through of search results.

      1. Apple provides all kinds of software that is available only to Apple devices… the operating systems for a start. I don’t think providing an Apple only search engine would actually be a problem, especially if they went the route of purchasing DDG and improving it.

        1. You failed to understand the point entirely.

          For Maps, fewer people are reporting problems or new info (not that Apple/TomTom sees fit to update things quickly anyway; a major new bridge in my area still doesn’t exist in Apple/TomTom Maps).

          For search, you’ll run into the same problem people are saying about DuckDuckGo now: nice, but results are fewer and not as relevant to them.

          Operating systems and apps/services like Photos or iCloud are competitive advantages for a particular ecosystem, that make people want to buy into it.

          Maps and Search are data sources. Limiting these to Apple users means both are *less comprehensive* and thus less valuable data sources. People are *not* buying into the ecosystem based on Maps, or a supposed Apple search engine.

      2. Safari is Apple products only now, yet it generates $8.8 BILLION in ad revenue for Google. For the December quarter just ended Google reported $14.48 BILLION. Safari ad revenue represents ~12% of Google’s total year revenue. Losing that would seriously hurt Google. I see a change coming this year.

    2. No one can match Google’s algorithms. They’ve just gathered too much info from too many people, for too long. They see deep connections that other Search companies just cannot see.

      So for Apple to get into Search will require a leapfrog, meaning they cannot compete with Google in the arena that Google built.

      What is a leapfrog in Search? I’m not sure, but my best guess is natural language, Siri-based, deeply personal search. That is, if Apple can lay deep roots into your own information (spotlight already does this), and then make intelligent connections and predictions (e.g. you’re a landscape architect, and some of your documents refer to yew bushes, therefore when you ask, “What bush is related to yew?” it comes up as I’ve just written instead of, “What Bush (last name) is related to you?”)

      Apple could do this. The contextual information that Spotlight knows about you, when combined with iCloud info, and maybe other types of information (immediate family, when allowed?) could be really powerful. Also it might make up for the lack of super-deep internet info, and require only pretty deep internet info, which Apple could develop with spiders or even buy or rent from the likes of Bing or Yahoo.

      1. I totally agree. I’ve opened the same searches in multiple tabs with different search engines, and Google really does operate a superior service. Not only do the results tend to be more relevant (once you ignore the sponsored links,) and the interface (particularly for image search) is better looking and easier to navigate.

        Of course, this all stinks for those of us that dislike/ distrust Google, but it is what it is.

      1. Once upon a time Apple allowed this. Developers could offer freeware, shareware, trialware, software rental, or even financing programs. But now you really can’t try out software without ads. More and more, apps are also removing user management tools and pushing automated iCloud use. That sounds great until your data needs prompt Apple and your ISP to gouge you with a monthly bill.

        iCloud $erver rental is obviously Apple’s strategy for forcing $ubscription-based computing.

        1. I continue to use DDG but it’s got a long way to go. I will be more impressed with DDG when it starts putting an effort into listing correct links like official companies and organizations first instead of always posting Yelp, review sites, Wikipedia, and internet repeater hit whore sites as the first listings.

          It’d be great to go both Google-free and Yelp-free, but Apple’s certainly not shown good progress in figuring out its strategy.

          As much as I hate Google Maps, it is undeniable that Apple Maps interface, errors, and features are all vastly inferior, with Apple doing a very poor job correcting user-prompted corrections. If Apple can’t even get Maps right, what makes anyone think they could get search correct?

          1. I know what you mean. But the DDG project listens and gradually implements new and better features. As for Yelp, I keep a bag of salt handy. I’ve had them censor entirely sincere bad reviews I’ve posted, which is entirely contrary to their manifesto. They’ve also been caught essentially taking bribes, or more like demanding bribes, for those special businesses they toss on their preferred list. 😛 And Apple: I’ve never figured out how the owners of the great FileMaker Pro can’t integrate better databases and search systematics into their own OS X/iOS software. Apparently, it takes a motivated mastermind to get them off the tuffet, kill the spider and leap into decent search technology. I don’t now what to make of Apple Maps as it was all wrapped up in that Scott Forstall stuff. It clearly was nothing more than betaware when it hit the streets, one of Apple greatest bungles. I would suspect that having Forstall removed had tainted the project, work culturally speaking. I’ve seen that scenario before. It’s not motivational.

  2. This is not only probable but inevitable and Schmidt/Page have to see it comin’ due to their abuse of Apple friendship and trust aka betrayals. Diminishing Google Search revenues and market share, dropping premium Google Android sales suggest a very slow thermonuclear response, but effective nonetheless. I would think by year’s end Google stock, profits, market share and standing will take a serious blow. Their reversal of fortunes has begun.

    1. One thing is for sure. Tim Cook will put together the right deal for Apple. I have come to respect TC in his handling of Samdung. Even though they have been bitter enemies in court and consumer markets, TC knows he needs to buy the best components for Apple. That same pragmatism I would expect to see here as well.

  3. I’ve already stopped using Google because I get the stupid server disconnect error when clicking on Google search links. Did the same for Yahoo too. The only one that works right now is Bing. Maybe it’s because of the number of redirects that Yahoo and Google use – I’m not sure.

    Bing is okay but I do miss Google.

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