Will Apple ever build a search engine of its own? This question has long been the topic of discussion for several years now. But recent update in the U.S. federal antitrust case against Google could accelerate any intentions Apple has to create its own Search Engine platform.
In April the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an antitrust lawsuit against the giant search engine Google on behalf of consumers and competitors who claimed the company’s search results and advertisements were favoring their products over those of others. The complaint alleged that Google abused its dominant market position by manipulating search results to promote its own web browser and other Google applications. The FTC’s complaint also charged that Google abused the dominance of search results by offering AdSense ads to websites and apps that use its search result algorithm. According to the FTC, the company has not taken reasonable steps to ensure that these practices don’t violate the terms of service and competitive behavior guidelines set forth by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In addition, the commission stated that Google has not provided adequate notice that its search results are skewed in its favor.
Although Google denies any wrongdoing, the FTC has demanded that it refrain from participating in any practices that would “effectively restrain competition” within the online marketplace. In particular, it is demanding that Google discontinue its “spyware” program, which allows companies and advertisers to track consumers’ web browsing and purchases by sending them targeted advertising. Furthermore, the commission says that Google must refrain from penalizing competing websites or apps by eliminating rankings or displaying advertisements on sites it deems unfavorable or illegitimate.
One of the main reasons why the FTC filed its complaint against Google is the fact that Apple’s iOS platform controls more than half of all mobile devices on the market. Because iOS is based on Android technology, a part of Google’s core business model is developing applications for Apple devices that run on the iOS platform. Given the nature of these programs, competition among these apps will inevitably be fierce. Although Google has a significant number of users in the Apple ecosystem, there is no guarantee that these programs would be developed in a manner that would prevent Google’s search results from favoring its own products or penalizing those of rivals.
Furthermore, many analysts believe that Apple is unlikely to pursue this path because it would be a costly exercise. And, as a start-up, would be hard for the company to generate enough revenue from sales. Ad sales to cover the cost of building a search engine of its own. However, if Apple does eventually build a search engine of its own, it is not impossible for it to attract top-notch developers to work on it, especially since the company has a great deal of clout with major search engines like Google.
One of the reasons why Apple might decide to try to build its own search engine is the fact that it could use the software to help its own marketing efforts as it did with its Maps application. However, experts do not believe that a developer working with Apple would want to enter into an involvement with a competitor. Many of the world’s best programmers are already working at companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Baidu.
Indeed, if Apple decides to build its own search engine, it may be difficult for the company to attract top-notch developers, especially if it decides to develop a platform that is open to competitors. Apple also faces stiff competition from the likes of Yahoo, Twitter, and Facebook. If Apple doesn’t want to lose out on potential profits by being associated with such popular services, it may opt for a system that doesn’t require the use of Google’s proprietary technologies and applications.
As Apple continues to expand its efforts to be an information powerhouse, one can only imagine what innovations and new platforms it is working on. One thing is for sure: Apple’s plans will continue to put the focus on becoming the go-to source of news and information, especially on the internet.