Analyst says Apple may build search engine for iPhone users

by: Bradley Wint on April 5th, 2010 at 10:57 am

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According to a report by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, there is a 70% chance that Apple may develop a search engine for its iPhone users within the next 5 years. Why? Munster says that with Google currently being the default search engine on the iPhone, Google can gather a lot of data about Apple mobile users for development of better products for both the iPhone and the Android platforms. HTC even got into a bit of trouble recently for mimicking the iPhone’s design and interface style. Maybe the design came about from Google being able to find user likes and dislikes via gathered iPhone data?

Munster mentions that if Apple had a search engine, they could gather crucial data from different key sites such as the iTunes store, allowing them to better develop apps for the iPhone clientele. It would also “block” Google from being able to ascertain trends from the iTunes store.

“We believe Apple could utilize data unavailable to Google, data generated by the company’s App Store, to create a mobile centric search engine, which would be a unique offering to Google’s search engine…

“The data generated on the iPhone OS platform must become an increasing priority for Apple and we believe the company has the resources to develop its own products in both maps and search in the next five years,” said Munster.

Even though Apple may not be the gurus of online digital content, they could easily hire a search company, rope in a few advertisers and resellers, basically creating a search engine to serve the main purpose of data collection. They also have the potential to develop a much more user-friendly app, rather than the current plain text link apps made by Google and Bing.

If Apple were to develop a search within the 5 years, it may still take them possibly another 10 years and lots of financing to come up to par with Google. Currently Google has a 65% market share in the United States online search engine industry, with others like Bing and Yahoo Search still wondering how to effectively provide a good engine like Google does. So what does that say for Apple?

However, protecting data from the iTunes store is also essential for Apple’s survival, whether they know it or not. The question now is whether Apple would be willing to spend some dough to build better software in the long run, or just live on hope, dreams and new ideas.

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