How Much Will Google Pay to Be on Apple's Default Search Engine?
Yahoo stole some market share from Google by getting (outbidding) Mozilla to switch their default search engine setting on its Firefox Browser from Google to Yahoo.
Yes, of course you can still manually switch back or go to Google.com and search, but people have gotten used to just typing what they're searching for directly into their address bar of their browser (an advent of Google in their Chrome browser since imitated by all.)
Soon Google's contract with Apple to be the default setting on its Safari browser (both for mobile and desktop) will be expiring and Microsoft and Yahoo are both attempting to steal this lucrative spot away from Google. At stake are the generally upscale Safari users on Apple iPhones and iPads, an audience that in the U.S. accounts for 69% of all tablet users and 50% of all mobile users.
A bidding war between three deep treasure chests (Microsoft, Yahoo, Google) means the obvious winner here is Apple, and with Big G wanting to maintain the ubiquity of the word "Google" meaning "search" while the competition wants to steal away more of Google's dominant market share, which it still owns by correctly predicting the switch away from the desktop to mobile- the whole reason Google gave away its Android operating system was to protect its "economic moat" around its search business.
The question is, how much will Apple be able to extract from the parties in question. One definite determining factor is whether the percentage of paid clicks Yahoo is receiving from the Firefox has growing since the initial switch, or whether people have manually switched back to Google. (I have read two different sets of stats which seem to contradict each other on that subject)
One thing for certain: Apple will be able to extract more $$ from the deal than it previously did, not only because mobile traffic is worth more as we move to larger screens, but because Microsoft and Yahoo are will be bidding in earnest this time.
The only question is how much leverage Apple actually has (based on expected switches back, and what Google really values the traffic at.) or whether they want to go it alone in search (based on recent job postings the company has made)
Even if Google wins this contract (by being able to pay more per search) the likely high margins Google had under the old contract will almost certainly be contracting.
Once again, Apple shareholders will emerge as the winner when this deal closes.