Yahoo CEO and former Googler Marissa Mayer is leveling the cannons at her old employer, and the latest clash might end up taking place on furtive territory: Your iPhone.
Kara Swisher at Re/code has the scoop, which is fascinating and I’d encourage you to read it. According to internal sources, Mayer is gearing up to pitch Apple to consider making Yahoo the default search engine in the iOS version of Safari. Right now, Google is the default, but iPhone and iPad owners can toggle between Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing. “This is the aim of the whole effort here,” said one anonymous insider, “to grab the pole position in iOS search.”
On paper it makes sense; Apple has spent the last few years untangling itself from Google and, peripherally, Android software. See: Google Maps, YouTube, etc. Even Siri uses Bing’s search engine to comb the web instead of Google.
That said, convincing Apple to switch over to Yahoo–even if the two purportedly have a stellar working relationship–will take some major, major legwork. Over at Search Engine Land, Danny Sullivan has a crystal clear outline of the many obstacles Yahoo will face, the core of which is this: Right now, Yahoo has no core search technology to speak of:
Sure, Yahoo has some for very specialized things. But the core technology to sift through billions of pages across the web and ferret out relevant results? Yahoo gave all that up as part of its deal with Microsoft years ago. Apparently, as Swisher reported earlier this year, Yahoo has two plans called Fast Break and Curveball intended to restore Yahoo’s technical chops when it comes to search–and in a matter of months. That’s pretty far fetched.
There is a glimmer of hope, though. It’s worth remembering that Yahoo powers Apple’s weather and stock apps. And when Alibaba goes public later this year, it will have billions to reinvest in new proprietary search software. At the very least it will have Apple’s ear.
But even if Cupertino and Mayer were to ink a search deal, iOS users might not be too happy. We all remember what happened when Apple gave Google Maps the boot.