Yahoo and Microsoft are fighting to be the search engine provider for the iPhone when Apple’s contract with Google expires next year, according to a report by Amir Efrati at The Information. The two companies are each vying to be the default search provider for Safari, Apple’s web browser on the iPhone, iPad and Mac.
Microsoft may have an advantage in this case, since Bing is already the default search provider for Apple’s Siri and OS X’s Spotlight search service. And initially, the search would likely be powered by Microsoft even if Yahoo won the contract, as long as the search partnership between the two companies remains in place.
But whichever company gets the contract has the potential to reach Apple’s massive mobile customer base at a time when search engines are scraping for market share. Microsoft and Yahoo are competing with a slight advantage, since Google is a direct rival of Apple’s in the mobile space. Ever since the launch of Android, Apple has been weaning itself from Google services.
Apple removed YouTube as a default app in 2012, and launched its own mapping service rather than use Google Maps to provide directions to its users. Still, Google is the most popular search engine in the U.S. and Europe, so Apple may want to maintain its default for the sake of not frustrating its consumers.
One way or another, consumers who feel a particular loyalty to one search engine or another will almost certainly still be able to choose their provider of choice. Right now, users can choose to search Google, Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo from Safari’s address bar, and can of course enter an engine’s web address and search from there.
Last week, Mozilla announced that Yahoo would be the default search provider in Firefox after Google’s contract with the open-source browser maker expired, so this could be anyone’s game.