Google pays Apple something like $10 billion per year to be the default search engine on iPhones and iPads. My guess is that cozy arrangement might not survive antitrust scrutiny.
Apple might be working on an alternative to Google Search.
This is according to a report by the Financial Times, which claims Apple has begun to show its own search results in iOS 14. This might mean that Apple is ramping up efforts to replace Google Search on its devices.
We’ve already seen signs of this. The changes in iOS 14 were noticed in August by Coywolf, as were Apple’s hirings of search experts. And a few days ago, The New York Times reported that the Justice Department has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, with prosecutors saying that the search giant is using illegal tactics to protect its monopoly in search. The report also unveiled that Google pays Apple an estimated $8 to $12 billion per year to get its search engine built into Apple products.
Now, the Financial Times claims that the antitrust lawsuit prompted Apple to start working on its own search product more urgently. It also cites experts as saying that Apple’s web crawler Applebot is showing increased activity in recent weeks, which might mean it’s scouring the web to build a bigger pile of data, which would be useful in building a search engine.