There was a time when the tension between Apple and Google seemed much less. For example, at that time, you could see the Google Maps application on the iPhone immediately when it was turned on for the first time. But after the acquisition and wider launch of Android, such fruitful cooperation between companies began to noticeably decrease, and competition only grew.
According to the materials of Financial Times, there is still a lot of “resentment” inside Apple. Therefore, the Cupertino office is currently working on improving at least three areas of service work that will help reduce cooperation with Google.
The first one is maps. Apple Maps was launched in 2012 and replaced Google maps (although even now this does not prevent users from downloading the search giant’s application from the App Store). It was not an easy start for the company and Tim Cook even had to apologize to users for some inaccuracies in his work. But since that moment, the service has improved significantly, continuing to receive new features.
For example, this year Business Connect was announced – cooperation with a business that can be “marked” on the map, where the user can see photos, special offers and contact the establishment. And it is a direct competitor of the Google Maps function, which in turn is implemented together with Yelp. But Apple goes further, opening the possibility of integration at the system level with Apple Pay and Business Chat.
The second item on the list of such “fight” is search. In Cupertino-based company, it’s called Apple Search, and according to employees, it already facilitates “billions of searches” per day. References to search features from Apple began in 2013, when the company acquired Topsy Labs, a startup that indexed Twitter for search and analytics. Currently, these technologies are used every time users ask for something in Siri or search for something in Spotlight.
In 2019, Laserlike, a startup of a former Google engineer, was also acquired to strengthen such capabilities. It’s an AI tool whose purpose is described as providing “high-quality information and diverse perspectives on any topic from around the web.”
According to Pantheon website platform strategy director Josh Koenig, only by terminating Google as the default search platform in 1.2 billion iPhones, Apple will be able to take a significant chunk of the “search” share of Google, which is 92%.
If Apple could build something that was essentially as good as ‘Google classic’ — Google circa 2010 when it was a simple search engine less optimized for ads revenue — people might just prefer that.
But it will not be a cheap pleasure. According to the US Department of Justice, Apple currently receives between $8 billion and $12 billion from Google for having Google as the default search engine on iOS. Still, such a replacement, with added assurances to users that their data won’t end up with third-party brokers, would do well to bolster Apple’s privacy marketing campaign, while costing Google plenty of money.
And the third point remains advertising, where Alphabet receives 80% of its own revenues. Last summer, Apple was looking for someone to “driving the design of the most privacy-forward, sophisticated demand side platform possible”. In other words, a digital ad buying tool that allows advertisers to buy advertising space on several exchanges.
Such vacancy could indicate that the company intends to build a new advertising network that would allow showing ads to iPhone users bypassing third-party brokers. Keith Weisburg, who previously spent 10 years at Google and YouTube, and also worked in a similar position at Amazon, was hired for this position in September.
Andrew Lipsman, an analyst at Insider Intelligence, believes that such moves by Apple could weaken Alphabet’s position in iOS “more than ever 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.
Apple itself does not officially comment on such information.