Apple CEO Steve Jobs at AllThingsDigital's D8 conference June 1 said Apple is not interested in going into the search business and will not drop Google on its iPhone and iPad in favor of Microsoft's Bing. Broadpoint AmTech analyst Ben Schachter indicated Jobs' comments should come as music to the ears of investors fearful that Apple might try to open a new battle front with Google in search. Search expert John Battelle doesn't believe the conversation is so cut as dry as Jobs made it sound.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs said
a lot of interesting things on stage at
AllThingsDigital's D8 conference June 1, but it's what he said about search
that has pricked up the ears of some financial analysts.
Jobs swatted aside a couple of search-related rumors. He asserted
that Apple is not interested in going into the search
business or dropping Google on its iPhone and iPad
in favor of Microsoft's Bing.
Specifically, when asked about Apple's recent purchase of semantic search
, Jobs said
Siri was an artificial intelligence company, not a search company and noted, "We
have no plans to go into the search business. We don't care about it-other
people do it well." Asked about whether he would remove Google from the
iPhone or iPad, Jobs said no.
Those statements come after rumors that Apple was formulating a deal
with Microsoft to replace
Google as the default search provider on its iPhone and iPad with Bing, or at
least offer Bing as an option on those devices. Jobs could make such an
announcement at the Apple developer conference next week.
Broadpoint AmTech analyst Ben Schachter indicated Jobs' comments should come
as music to the ears of investors fearful that Apple might try to open a new
battle front with Google in search.
"It is hard to interpret such comments as anything but a positive for
Google," Schachter wrote in a research note June 3.
"We had been concerned that Apple might not just remove Google from
Apple products, but that Apple could attempt to compete more directly with
Google on search either through a proxy such as Microsoft or through the Yahoo
strategy of focusing on the user interface of search and partnering with
Microsoft for the indexing. ... If Jobs says that there are no plans to go into
search, we take him at his word."
Search expert John Battelle doesn't believe the conversation is as cut and
dry as Jobs made it sound.
In a June 2 blog post, Battelle explained
how Apple will indeed offer search, just not the
classic Web search platform consumers are used to from Google, Yahoo and Bing.
He believes Apple will forge a vertical search platform for the mobile
applications his company sells for its iPhone and iPad.
Such an offering would be a boon at a time when users are struggling to find
what the right applications in Apple's App Store, which boasts more than
"Apple will do search," Battelle said. "It won't be search as
we understand it on the Web, but it'll be search for AppWorld, and if done
right, it will be extremely profitable."
Battelle, who argues that we need to rethink how we view search, isn't alone
in this sentiment. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote
in a March 30 research note that Apple must build a
special search engine to shield its application data from Google and others on
Apple may not be kicking Google search and other apps off of its iPhone or
iPad, but it could construct a walled garden around its app data that could
crimp Google's mobile ad plans for those popular devices.
In the meantime, there are already plenty of places for Apple to compete
with Google in the mobile sector and that rivalry will heat up next week, when
Apple is expected to launch
the iPhone 4.0 and iAd platform
at its developer conference.
These products will pose significant challenges to Google's Android, AdMob
and AdSense for mobile platforms.