Though no one is certain of the date, Apple and Google’s search engine deal is expected to end sometime this year, leading experts to speculate on whether the two tech giants will renew their partnership.
Online journal Search Engine Land reports that the deal between the two companies, in which Apple made Google the default search engine for its web browser Safari, is now being weighed on both sides. Given Google’s modest net revenue generated under the agreement, however, some industry experts are predicting that the companies will part ways.
It was reported last year that Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, led discussions with Microsoft, which owns Bing, and Yahoo about a potential switch. Since at least 2011, the revenue Google generated from its default position on Safari has been steady but small. Another online journal, The Motley Fool, reported that Google is expected to make $7.8 billion in revenue from its deal with Apple. However, since Google pays Apple $2.2 billion for Safari rights, the net revenue comes out to be $5.6 billion, 8.5% of Google’s 2014 revenue.
Still, this may not be enough to convince Google to keep its spot with Safari. Especially considering that Google gave up its default rights in Firefox to Yahoo! in the United States, some predict that Google may do the same with Apple.
It is worth nothing that Google is still the default search engine in Firefox outside of the U.S.
Apple may also feel the deal is unnecessary. According to a 2012 survey of iPhone users, 45% of respondents claim that they go directly to google.com for an online search. Another 19% use the mobile Google app, bring the total percentage of users who use Google directly to 64%. However, 26% of users use the Safari toolbar, which employs Google unless the user changed its default settings to Yahoo! or Bing, which is perfectly possible.
Overall, Apple figures it can drop Google’s default position without much fuss, as users can either manually restore Google as default or go to Google directly each time they want to search.
For its part, Google has an 84% share of the mobile market in the United States. In addition, Google Chrome currently leads the field in the most Internet traffic, including desktop and mobile. Google’s dominance in search engine and Internet traffic may leave the company confident enough to say farewell to Safari.