Although Google pays Apple billions of dollars annually to be the default search engine on iOS, the Cupertino tech giant is working on ending that partnership. Financial Times (FT) reports that Apple is developing services to replace Google’s maps, search, and advertising services on its mobile operating system.
Ever since Google acquired and popularized the Android operating system, Apple has held a grudge against it. Its late founder Steve Jobs called Android “a stolen product” which copied iPhone’s operating system.
Apple to targets Google’s Maps, Search, and online advertising businesses on iOS
A former Apple engineer told FT that the animosity between the two companies did not end with the ouster of Google CEO Eric Schmidt from Apple’s board of directors in 2009, and the iPhone maker is still engaged in a “silent war” against its “arch-rival”.
Now, the Cupertino tech company is targeting Google’s iOS business on three fronts: mapping, search, and online advertising by offering alternatives like Business Connect, Apple Search, and a demand-side platform (DSP).
Earlier this month, iPhone maker launched “Business Connect”, a free tool for all businesses, big and small, to customize their information in Apple Maps place cards directly which are displayed across its apps like Messages, Wallet, Siri, and others.
According to the new report, Business Connect is a direct challenge to Google Maps which offers similar information in partnership with Yelp and generates revenue from advertising and referral fees. However, it is expected that Business Connect will be more successful than Google’s service because of its seamless integration with Apple Pay or Business Chat and the company’s privacy protection.
“Apple Search” engine is the company’s second front against Google which has been in the making since 2013 when the iPhone maker acquired Topsy Labs, a start-up that indexed Twitter to enable searches and analytics. In 2019, it augmented with the acquisition of Laserlike, an artificial intelligence start-up founded by former Google engineers.
Currently, the tech is used every time an iOS user requests information from Siri or uses Mac’s Spotlight or home screen for a search. Chief strategy officer at Pantheon, Josh Koenig said:
“If Apple could build something that was essentially as good as ‘Google classic’ — Google circa 2010 when it was a simple search engine less optimised for ads revenue — people might just prefer that.”
Furthermore, the iPhone maker’s focus on preserving users’ privacy would make its search an attractive alternative to Google Search. CEO of data privacy platform Skyflow, Anshu Sharma said:
“Google could still be a better search engine, but if I want to search for me potentially getting cancer, who would you rather have that information?”
The Cupertino tech giant’s third and most devastating front in the battle against Google is online advertising, allegedly. In 2021, Apple posted a job listing to lead the “design of the most privacy- forward, sophisticated demand side platform possible” which was filled by Keith Weisburg as group product manager of Ad Platforms. “Weisburg, who also spent a decade at Google and YouTube, had been a senior product manager for Amazon’s DSP.”
Andrew Lipsman, an analyst at Insider Intelligence said:
Apple’s move on three fronts has left Alphabet’s position within iOS looking “more vulnerable than it ever has been before.
“Apple is increasingly incentivised to get into the search business as it builds out its advertising arm. Search is the key to huge troves of first-party data, and that’s the new battleground for the future of digital advertising.”