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Apple reportedly building an alternative to Google’s search engine

The company’s efforts are more or less riding on the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Google

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Photo (c) Lobro78 - Getty Images
With the Department of Justice (DOJ) suing Google for allegedly abusing its market dominance in Search, there is a new report that Apple might be seeing a good opportunity possibly left lying in Google’s wake.

According to a report from The Financial Times (FT), Apple has been in the shadows developing its own search technology for iPhones just in case regulators decide that the $8-12 billion Google pays Apple each year to guarantee its search engine is installed as a default search tool is overarching. 

The DOJ is going hard at Google, calling the company a “monopolist.” The Department previously levied antitrust actions against AT&T in 1974 and Microsoft in 1998. The DOJ says its end game this time is to “restore the role of competition and open the door to the next wave of innovation -- this time in vital digital markets.”

It started with one barely noticeable shift

iPhone users might not have noticed a change in what takes place when they type a query into the search window on iPhones using the latest Apple software (iOS 14), but Apple has reconfigured the default search results to be theirs and not Google’s. Taking a cue from Google’s auto-complete function, Apple’s now mimics that too. 

In short, if the DOJ blocks the partnership, Apple could be ready to do its own thing. The Financial Times writes that search marketing gurus have noticed that Apple’s “Applebot” -- a web crawler that databases online content such as news -- has become more active recently. 

However, Applebot has been criticized in the past for its poor functionality and “sloppy programming” -- something that Apple would have to make sure has improved and gives users a level of functionality they have experienced using Google search.

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