An investment firm that was founded in 1895 and earned almost $470 million in net revenue last year thinks it's likely that Apple will build its own search engine. Specifically, Piper Jaffray assigned this outcome a 70 percent chance of taking place sometime within the next five years.
Jay Yarow obtained a research note written by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, and in it, Munster stated, "We believe Apple could utilize data unavailable to Google, data generated by the company's App Store, to create a mobile centric search engine, which would be a unique offering to Google's search engine."
Munster then explained that this probably wouldn't occur as a result of Mac, iPhone, and iPad engineers starting something from scratch. He wrote, "[W]e feel Apple could make a minor acquisition of a search company that has built a web index, like a Cuil, and utilize the index as the base for building its own engine."
This is an interesting idea, at the very least, and if Google's and Apple's relationship continues to worsen (see Google's new partnership with Adobe as one example of things heading downhill), the odds of it becoming a reality will increase.
Of course, five years is a long time in this industry - Google's market share hadn't even crested the 50 percent mark in March of 2005 - so all manner of things may change before 2015 rolls around.