AT&T March 7 will launch the Motorola Backflip with Yahoo, not Google, as the default search engine for its first phone running Google's Android operating system. AT&T and Yahoo spokespeople confirmed for eWEEK that Yahoo, whose share of the search market slipped to 17 percent through January, will be the search provider of record for the Backflip. This play is part of AT&T and Yahoo's partnership, which runs deep and spans a number of areas on the mobile Web. AT&T's benchmark smartphone is of course Apple's iPhone, which offers Google as the default search engine. However, Apple is considering bumping Google in favor of Bing as the default search on the iPhone.
AT&T will launch the Motorola Backflip
March 7, but
its first phone running Google's Android operating system will be without Google
as the default search engine.
So what search engine will be offered on the Backflip,
which lets users turn it into a table-top mode to grant users a hands-free way
to watch videos, listen to music or flip through pictures? No, not Microsoft Bing:
AT&T and Yahoo spokespeople confirmed for eWEEK that Yahoo,
whose share of the search market slipped to 17 percent through January, will be
the search provider of record for the Backflip.
However, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told eWEEK users
can select any search engine on the Backflip as part of the company's
philosophy of letting users access any application they want.
"Yahoo is the default search engine," AT&T
spokesman Mark Siegel told eWEEK. "That doesn't stop you from using, for
example, Google search if that's what you want to do. We have a long-standing
relationship with Yahoo."
Indeed, this play is part of AT&T and Yahoo's partnership, which
runs deep and spans a number of areas on the mobile
Web, according to a Yahoo spokesperson.
"We are happy that AT&T has chosen Yahoo Search
as the default mobile search service on the Motorola Backflip, AT&T's first
Android device," the spokesperson said. "We have a long-standing
relationship with AT&T and more than 80 carrier partnerships around the
world for our award-winning mobile search experience.
"Mobile search continues to be a focus for
investment and innovation at Yahoo. It is an important part of our range of
mobile Internet services, which include our popular mobile home page, apps for
iPhone and other leading platforms, Yahoo Mail and Messenger and others Yahoo
This is a clear victory for Yahoo, albeit a small one, as
more than 65 percent of U.S. Web users use Google as their desktop search
There's no reason to believe users won't switch to Google
once they set up their phone and get pointed to Yahoo for the first time. Users
need only point the phone's Web browser to the search engine of their choice to
switch from Yahoo.
AT&T's benchmark smartphone is, of course, Apple's
iPhone, which offers Google as the default search engine... for now. Reports
strongly suggest Apple is considering
Google in favor of Bing as the default search on the iPhone.
This would put Microsoft's strong search offering, which garners
an 11.3 percent market share, automatically in front of millions of iPhone
Could Apple have influenced AT&T to put Yahoo instead of Google as the default search for the Backflip?
While the move, and Apple's increasingly contentious relationship
with Google, would lend itself to such speculation, it could just be an
extension of AT&T and Yahoo's existing deal.
Meanwhile, Apple is suing HTC for patent infringement related to
several Android phones, driving home the conviction that Apple and
Google are waging
a multifront, mobile Web war.