Apple Predicted to Discontinue Relationship With Google
Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land is predicting that Apple will not be renewing their contract to have Google as the default browser for Safari in the United States.
The Information has reported that Yahoo and Microsoft are currently competing to become the new default search engine for Safari. The decision of who to choose will be made in part by Apple’s Eddie Cue, who will likely be taking into account both the quality of the search results and the potential profits from ad revenue.
Macquarie Capital estimated in 2011 that Google made $1.3 billion from its search ads as a result of being the default search engine for Safari. It is said that Google will have paid Apple close to a billion dollars from those earnings. With these high fees, it is likely that Google will be happy to walk away from the relationship.
Google may also believe that a relatively high percentage of Apple users will switch their default browser back to Google. Also mobile users may opt to use the Google search app.
Apple have the option of switching to Bing/Yahoo for the U.S. market, and keeping Google for territories outside of the U.S., just as Firefox did. This is quite possibly the most likely scenario.
Mark Ballard from RKG , has calculated that “roughly half of total paid search traffic [is] at stake in 2015 if the Safari search default is really up for grabs across devices.” By StatCounter’s estimations, Safari has just below a 26 percent market share in the U.S. (averaged across mobile and desktop), which is second to Chrome and more than Internet Explorer.
As Google strives for higher revenue and profits, there is an increased motivation to leave the $1 billion payment to Apple behind. Meanwhile, Apple possibly feel as though dropping Google as the default search engine will not alienate its users significantly.