There’s an interesting relationship between Apple and Google. The two companies need each other; Apple needs to provide its users with access to Google’s great, in-demand services, and Google needs those users on its services since it clearly can’t get them hooked in with Android. But it’s probably not a very happy marriage considering the competition between Android and iOS, so it’s not entirely surprising to hear that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is making progress in wooing Apple execs to make Yahoo iOS’s default search engine.

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CEO Marissa Mayer is said to be in talks with Apple execs to make Yahoo the default search engine for iOS’s Safari web browser.

According to a report on Recode today, sources have confirmed that Mayer has been in talks with key Apple people about knocking Google out of the iPhone and iPad’s Safari web browser as its default search engine and swapping in Yahoo. Moreover, the post says that Yahoo is preparing to invest a lot of money in revitalizing its search component—quite an uphill battle considering that a competitor as fierce Microsoft has barely been able to make a dent in Google’s dominance with its own Bing search engine. The report also links back to a story from last month that claims Yahoo is working on its own YouTube rival.

In short, it seems that Yahoo is looking to reclaim its former position as the go-to homepage for the web.

An unnamed source at Yahoo offered a comment on the company’s initiative to unseat Google on Apple devices:

“This is the aim of the whole effort here, to grab the pole position in iOS search. It will take more than pretty pictures, though, to convince Apple to give up Google, given its focus on consumer experience being top-notch. But Marissa wants it very badly.”

Of course, another report on Neowin also says that Microsoft, likewise, is looking to achieve much the same goal as Yahoo with Bing. That report cites sources that similarly say that Microsoft is in talks with Apple to make Bing the default search engine for iOS versions of Safari. The report further cites the recent high-profile (and apparently very successful) release of Office for iPad as proof that relations between Microsoft and Apple have warmed of late. Furthermore, Windows Phone offers far less competition in the mobile OS market than Android does.

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In both cases, Apple’s suitors each have their advantages in terms of limiting Apple’s reliance on Google, and Android is iOS’s biggest threat. And even though Apple users cried out when Apple briefly ditched Google maps in favor of its own abortive mapping app, those users didn’t jump ship to Android in protest. Apple restored Google Maps, but is said to be working on an improved version of Apple Maps for iOS 8, meaning that the company is clearly trying to get away from Google in every way that’s practical.

Does Yahoo have a shot at becoming the default search engine? Will Microsoft out-muscle Mayer? Is Apple the prettiest belle at the ball? And will Google take all this without putting up a fight?

[Sources: Recode, Neowin]

  • both Amazon and Apple’s Siri have already successfully replaced Google Search with Bing Search. The change has been transparent to end users. Yahoo Search is powered by Bing. Additionally MS and Apple have long co-existed and competed on multiple fronts respectfully, even agreeing to cross license patents essential to the success of each other’s services, hardware and products. So it’s not inconvievable for Apple to swap Google for Bing on Safari by default. In fact, I think over the past few years that’s really been the point of Bing, not as a primary competitor to Google for search but a bundled, software as a service solution for itself and third parties.


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