After Apple Business Connect, will Apple Search take on Google soon?

For years, the iPhone maker has been rumored to be quietly but actively working on an Internet search service. Called Apple Search in short, it will allow Google to compete in an area it has dominated head and shoulders for more than two decades. This idea resurfaces after the availability of the Apple Business Connect tool a few days ago.

Cooperation with Google

Google has long paid Apple billions of dollars a year to be the default search engine in Safari. Obviously, when you type a search in the Safari bar on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, Google is used. All this traffic, billions of devices allows Google to generate huge revenue by selling ads in search results.

Google’s payment started at 1 billion dollars in the first year, it will increase to 18-20 billion dollars last year, and a bigger payment is expected this year.

However, Apple has diversified its partnerships at this point, such as the firm using Microsoft Bing for results through Siri. Siri and Spotlight searches have also long been rumored to be partially powered by Apple’s own search engine. This idea is reinforced by the company’s periodic acquisitions of research companies such as Topsy Labs and Laserlike.

Apple BusinessConnect

apple business connect mac

At the beginning of the year, Apple took a more visible step than usual: the launch of Apple Business Connect.

Apple today unveiled a new tool for companies of all sizes to “request location maps and customize how key data appears to more than a billion Apple users.” […].

In addition to helping businesses manage how they appear in Apple Maps, Business Connect will also help organize how business data appears in Messages, Wallet, Siri and other Apple apps. Promotions, discounts, seasonal offers and more for businesses. There is also a new way to highlight.

While companies can currently do all of this for free, there’s every reason to believe that Apple is about to turn it into a potentially profitable service, much of which will replace what companies currently spend on Google.

A war with Google?

The Financial Times suggests that the popular Business Connect could be one of the key elements of a three-part strategy to compete with Google:

  • Apple Maps (with Business Connect)
  • Apple Search
  • Apple ads

Apple Maps

Our colleague describes the launch of Business Connect in Apple Maps as a direct provocation for Google.

This is a direct challenge to Google Maps, which has partnered with the Yelp recommendations platform to offer similar information and derives its revenue from advertising and referral fees.

Business Connect goes a step further by leveraging Apple’s operating system to offer iOS users unique features such as Apple Pay or seamless integration with Business Chat, a text-based commerce chat tool.

Apple Search

While this has been a long-standing rumor, Apple’s willingness to enter this ultra-Google-dominated market has always been a big question, despite good alternatives like DuckDuckGo or Qwant. Unlike Apple, which derives half of its revenue from iPhone sales, Google relies more on its ability to deliver personalized ads to Internet users based on user browsing and habits. Moreover, Apple has already hit the Mountain View giant with App Tracking Transparency, which appeared in iOS 14.5.

Josh Koenig, director of strategy at Pantheon, a website operations platform, said Apple could quickly erode Google’s market share (92%) by no longer making Google.com the default engine for its 1.2 billion iPhone users.

If Apple could build something as good as classic Google, say Google in 2010, a simple search engine less optimized for ad revenue, people might prefer it.

Apple ads

After the iAd bug, Apple has gradually expanded its advertising business significantly over the years, including App Store ads.

The company recently hired Keith Weisburg, a former Google and YouTube executive, for a role described as “designing the most sophisticated and privacy-friendly demand-side platform (DSP) possible.” DSP is a single tool that allows advertisers to buy ads on multiple platforms.

The result

In conclusion, it seems clear that Apple is preparing a war against Google, something that Steve Jobs started in his time, when he (rightly) claimed that his rival copied iOS to create Android.

In 2023, there’s no denying that Apple has grown its advertising business significantly over the past year, and Business Connect clearly shows greater ambitions in this area. What better way than a search engine to put all of this together and save a few billions in the long run to keep their customers in the ecosystem a little more.

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