Rumor has it that Yahoo is focused on trying to convince Apple to switch the default search experience on iOS to Yahoo rather than Google.
Would you like to see this happen? Let us know in the comments.
Kara Swisher at Re/code, who frequently reports on chatter from within Yahoo, has sources who say CEO Marissa Mayer and SVP of mobile and emerging products Adam Cahan are leading an “aggressive effort” to convince Apple to do just that. Swisher writes:
A number of Yahoo insiders I have talked to said her plan to pitch Apple on the idea as its marquee mobile search partner is far along. The company has prepared detailed decks, including images of what such a search product would look like, and hopes to present them to Apple execs.
That has not happened as yet officially and no deal is imminent — it’s just the big honking goal of the new Yahoo effort, said sources. Still, several said Mayer has already buttonholed a few Apple executives on the topic, including its powerful SVP of design, Jony Ive, who knows the former Google exec well.
It’s worth noting that Yahoo already provides default data for the iPhone’s weather and stocks apps, and Apple has tried to distance itself from Google reliance in the past. I probably don’t have to remind you about the time they dropped Google Maps in favor of their own maps product (with less than ideal results).
Google is said to pay over a billion a year to Apple, but Yahoo has hardly been shy about throwing money around since Mayer took over. The company has pretty much been on a non-stop acquisition quest.
Still, it could be hard for Yahoo to make a legitimate case to Apple when its own search product is powered by Bing, though Mayer is apparently determined to get away from that too.
Danny Sullivan, who has been covering search for eighteen years now, doesn’t see it happening.
“The biggest challenge Yahoo has is that it lacks any solid search technology. Sure, Yahoo has some for very specialized things,” he writes. “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.”
Mayer is said to hate the Microsoft partnership, and Swisher has reported in the past that she has the company working on two secret projects that would help it become more independent. The code names are “Fast Break” and “Curveball,” and they “could potentially get the company back into algorithmic search as well as search advertising,” the report said.
Yahoo has also recently switched over to Yelp listings for its local search reviews, which could sit better with Apple than Yahoo’s previous offering (even if it doesn’t with business owners) Local search is, of course, very important to the mobile experience.
Yahoo released its Q1 earnings report this week, with revenue up 1% year-over-year. Search revenue was up 5% at $445 million. Ex-TAC, it was up 9%. It was actually Yahoo’s ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth in search revenue ex-TAC. Paid Clicks increased by 6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013, and price-per-click increased approximately 8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2013.
As Yahoo likes to show with acquisition after acquisition, it has pretty deep pockets. So does Google though, and it’s not going to just sit idly by.
If Yahoo wants to really be taken seriously again in search, however, the kind of exposure being the default option on iOS would be a good start. You can say what you want about Yahoo’s search technology, but in the end is the average user even thinking about it? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean Apple isn’t.
Would you like to see Yahoo become the default search on iOS? Would you switch it? Let us know in the comments.
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