The search giant lost market share in the US on desktop computers and tablets in January, while Yahoo has increased its presence since replacing Google as the default search engine in the Firefox browser. Now, since its contract with Apple inches toward the expiration date, Google could take a significant hit if Apple decides to repeat the step Firefox took three months ago (via The Street).
To put that into numbers — or, more specifically, money — Google is about to cash in $8.8 billion in gross mobile search revenue from Apple this year, according to a Nomura analyst. That sounds tasty for both Yahoo and Microsoft, so we can understand why they are pressuring Apple to hand them over the contract, as The Information reported earlier last year.
“What we’ve seen with Firefox on the desktop … has really caused a shift that hasn’t happened before,” StatCounter founder Aodhan Cullen said. “This is the first time we’ve seen something that has actually moved the needle, and given Yahoo! share and taken share away from Google.”
“Apple and Google and clearly rival companies in several areas, and I think it’s entirely possible that … Safari could replace Google in the very near-term feature as the default search engine,” Altimeter Group analyst Rebecca Lieb said.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer called the Safari platform one of the “premiere search engines in the world” and emphasized that the company is interested in a deal with Apple.
At stake is the iDevice user base, which in the US accounts for 69% of all tablet users and about half of mobile users, according to Cullen. And if we add that eMarketer estimate for 2015, which puts US search ad spending on mobile at $13 billion, well, that sounds like a big hit Google could take if Apple decides to drop the partnership…