Marissa Mayer Wants Apple To Use Yahoo Search In iOS

Yahoo wants to replace Google as the default search provider on Apple’s iPhone and iPad mobile devices.

The effort is reportedly led by Marissa Mayer herself, a former Google engineer who took over struggling Yahoo in July 2012.

Sources told Re/code that Yahoo is currently running two internal projects aimed at creating better mobile search engine and monetisation tools, in order to convince Apple of the viability of its proposals.

Things at Yahoo are looking up – it has just reported a revenue increase of one percent in the first quarter of 2014, mostly fuelled by growth in display advertising. That might not seem like much, but after a year of stagnation, even modest improvement could indicate that Meyer’s ‘shop till you drop’ turnaround plan is beginning to work.

Yahoo gets ambitious

It is hard to imagine the pain Apple must feel when it has to rely on services offered by Google, whose Android platform is its largest competitor. But while iPhone and iPad owners can change their settings to choose Yahoo or Microsoft’s Bing as the search provider, Google remains the default option for most.

Money plays an important part in this uneasy partnership – Google is reportedly paying Apple around $1 billion per year for traffic, while earning much more from advertising in iOS.

Marissa Mayer hopes to change the situation, and position Yahoo as the preferred search provider on Apple’s devices. This is not going to happen overnight, but according to Re/code, the company is treating iOS as a major goal and is already developing the necessary back-end technologies.

Mayer has reportedly started discussions with several Apple executives, including Sir Jony Ive, who recently took over the company’s human interface team.

Yahoo already supplies iOS devices with stock quotes and weather forecasts. However, search on mobile devices is not just about offering information – it has to involve location-aware, contextual services and needs to appeal to both users and advertisers at the same time. Voice control functions, similar to Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Google Now are also an important factor.

Mobile search is not the only field where Yahoo is looking to challenge Google – the company is also developing a competitor to YouTube, focused on professional content. Last year, Yahoo attempted to acquire popular online video platform Dailymotion, but the deal was blocked by French regulators.

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Max Smolaks

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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