According to Financial Times, the iPhone maker is stepping up efforts to develop its own search technology as the US antitrust authorities threaten the payments that Google makes to secure prime placement of its Search engine on the iPhone.
Google is estimated to pay between $8- $12 billion per year to be the default iOS Search Engine. This is believed to the be the single biggest payment Google makes to anyone and it accounts for 14%- 21% of Apple’s annual profits.
The development by Apple follows a landmark lawsuit against Google by the US Justice department where they say the company violated antitrust laws. This lawsuit revealed that nearly half of Google’s search traffic now comes from Apple devices and the prospect of losing the Apple deal has been described as a code red scenario in the company.
A silent changed in the latest version of iOS 14 showed that Apple has begun to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type queries. The update also set aside Google for certain search functions. Queries made on the search window accessed by swiping right (Apple calls it “Today View”) show Apple generated list of suggestions rather than Google results. They also have frequent job advertisements for search engineers which are needed to complete that goal.