updated 08:24 pm EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
CEO to make pitch to Apple to make Google search optional
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who has worked diligently to turn around the veteran search engine's fortunes with some success, is planning on appealing to Apple to make Yahoo's search engine the default choice on the Mac and iOS. Currently Apple offers Yahoo as a option for search, but uses Google as a default (and Bing to power Siri inquiries). Mayer may seen an opportunity to advance Yahoo's already-friendly relationship with Apple, given its fight with Google over Android and patents.
While Apple has studiously avoided suing Google directly over what former CEO Steve Jobs claimed was its "stolen" Android OS, the company has won numerous victories against hardware makers (including Google-owned Motorola, and most notably Samsung) for copying specific features, some victories even resulting in sales injunctions until workarounds were implemented. The current Apple-Samsung patent trial edges ever closer to an all-out assault on specific features in Android that appear to have been copied wholesale from Apple following the original introduction of the iPhone.
Apple has been distancing itself from both Samsung and Google whenever possible, though it is still dependent on both for certain products and services, such as a search engine in the case of Google. As the relationship between the two tech giant continues to strain, however, Apple could consider making Yahoo the default engine, demoting Google to simply being an option and leaving the choice to users. History suggests that most users never change the default search engine option, regardless of what it is set to.
Apple has some incentives not to switch, however. Currently, Google pays Apple some $1 billion per year in commission for traffic driven to its ad network and servers, reports AppleInsider. There is also the question of user familiarity, and the way Google's services seamlessly integrate with Apple's APIs to provide a high quality of experience for users. Finally, Apple may not want to risk alienating Google so as to not endanger the roughly-on par release of iOS apps for Google products and services.
However, Mayer and Yahoo SVP of Mobile Adam Cahan are said to be "aggressively" working on a plan to woo Apple. The iPhone maker has had a good relationship with Yahoo under Mayer, and has gradually increased its use of Yahoo's financial, weather and sports information within iOS. Whether it would be able to match Google's commitment to mobile and desktop users remains to be seen.