Apple is taking steps to strip its mobile operating system of features offered by Google. Google’s positions are being attacked from three directions at once – in mapping and geolocation services, in search services and in advertising policy.
The two Silicon Valley giants have been rivals in the smartphone market since Google adopted and popularized the Android operating system in the 2000s. Apple co-founder Steve JobsSteve Jobs called Android a “stolen product” that mimicked Apple’s iOS mobile software, and then declared a “thermonuclear war” on Google, ousting the search company’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt (Eric Schmidt from the Apple board of directors in 2009.
Though the rivalry has since grown less vocal, two former Apple engineers said the iPhone maker has since done so “hold a grudge” on google. They argue that Apple is still waging a “silent war” against its nemesis by developing features that could allow the iPhone maker to further separate its products from the services offered by Google.
Back in 2012, Apple released the Maps app, which was supposed to replace the Google Maps app that came pre-installed on the iPhone. However, many flaws and bugs prevented Apple’s map service from getting rid of a competitor. It should be noted that Apple Maps has improved significantly over the past decade. In particular, the Business Connect function for business interaction with users has been announced. It takes advantage of the Apple operating system and offers iOS users unique features such as seamless integration with Apple Pay or Business Chat, a text-based trading tool.
There are also changes on the search front. Apple has long been working on what is known internally as Apple Search. It dates back to at least 2013, after acquiring startup Topsy Labs, which indexed Twitter to provide search and analytics. This technology is used in Apple’s voice assistant Siri and Spotlight on Mac. Apple Search started in 2019 with the purchase of Laserlike, an artificial intelligence startup founded by former Google engineers that described its mission as delivery “Quality information and diverse perspectives on any topic from across the web”.
Analysts say Apple could quickly increase its share of the search market if it removes default Google search for its 1.2 billion iPhone users. But such a waiver would be expensive for Apple, as Google pays Apple between $8 billion and $12 billion annually to make Google the default search engine for iOS. However, ousting Google would fit well with Apple’s privacy-focused software changes and associated marketing campaign, and potentially deal a major blow to Google’s business as well.
The third front in Apple’s fight is possibly its most devastating: It’s online advertising ambitions, which generate over 80% of Alphabet’s revenue. Apple is building a new ad network that will change the way ads are served to iPhone users and won’t share sensitive data with third-party ad brokers. In September, Keith Weisburg, who had previously worked at Google and YouTube for ten years and was a senior product manager at Amazon DSP, took over leading this direction.
“Apple’s actions on all three fronts have made Alphabet’s position on iOS more vulnerable than ever., says Andrew Lipsman, an analyst at Insider Intelligence. — Apple is increasingly interested in getting into the search business. Search is the key to a vast amount of raw data, and this is the new battleground for the future of digital advertising.”