Apple beefs up smartphone services in ‘silent war’ against Google

Apple has taken steps to separate its mobile operating system from features provided by Google parent company Alphabet, and has made advances in maps, search and advertising, creating a collision course among big tech companies. I’m here.

The two Silicon Valley giants have been rivals in the smartphone market since Google bought and popularized the Android operating system in the 2000s.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs called Android a “stolen product” that mimicked Apple’s iOS mobile software, declared a “thermonuclear war” against Google, and in 2009 killed the search company at the time. CEO Eric Schmidt has been ousted from Apple’s board of directors.

The rivalry has been tumultuous since then, but two former Apple engineers said the iPhone maker has held a “grudge” against Google ever since.

One of these people said Apple is still waging a “silent war” against its biggest rival. It does this by developing features that allow the iPhone maker to further separate its products from his Google-provided services. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

At the forefront of this battle is mapping, which began in 2012 when Apple released Maps, supplanting rival Google with pre-download apps.

Apple CEO Tim Cook had to apologize for software glitches in earlier versions of Maps © Cesare Abbate/EPA-EFE

The move was supposed to be a glorious moment for Apple’s software prowess, but the launch was so buggy that, for example, part of the bridge was deformed and looked like it sank into the ocean… our customers.”

However, Apple’s Maps has improved significantly over the last decade. Earlier this month, the company announced his Business Connect. This is a feature that allows businesses to request your digital location so that they can interact with you, show you photos, or offer promotions.

This is a direct challenge to Google Maps, which has partnered with recommendation platform Yelp to provide similar information and monetize from advertising and referral fees.

Business Connect goes even further by leveraging Apple’s operating system to provide unique features to iOS users. For example, seamless integration with Apple Pay and Business Chat, a text-based conversational tool for commerce.

Cory Munchbach, CEO of customer data platform BlueConic, said:

The second front in the fight is search. Apple rarely discusses products in development, but the company has long been working internally on a feature called “Apple Search,” according to project employees.

Apple’s search team dates back to at least 2013 when it acquired Topsy Labs, the startup that indexed Twitter to enable search and analytics. The technology is used whenever an iPhone user asks his Apple voice assistant Siri for information, enters a query from the home screen, or uses the Mac’s “Spotlight” search feature.

Apple’s search service was enhanced with the 2019 acquisition of Laserlike. Laserlike is an artificial intelligence startup founded by former Google engineers with a mission to “provide high-quality information and diverse perspectives on any topic from across the web.”

Josh Koenig, chief strategy officer at website operations platform Pantheon, says Apple will quickly take away Google’s 92% share of the search market by not making Google the default for 1.2 billion iPhone users. said it can be done.

“If Apple could build something essentially as good as ‘Google Classic’ (Google circa 2010 was a simple search engine not optimized for ad revenue), people might like it. said Koenig.

However, it comes at a cost. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Alphabet pays Apple $8 billion to $12 billion a year to make Google the default search engine on iOS.

Still, replacing Google on the iPhone and ensuring that users’ web queries aren’t leaked to third-party data brokers fits nicely with Apple’s privacy-centric software changes and marketing campaigns, while also helping Google’s business. It can hit you hard.

man looking at google maps on smartphone
Apple wants to compete with Google Maps, which makes money from advertising and referral fees © Justine Bonnery/Hans Lucas via Reuters

Since April 2021, when companies like Facebook and Snap launched new privacy policies that ban the easy creation of user profiles and tracking of app-to-app behavior, these companies each have a share of 58. % and 84%.

“Google is still a better search engine, but if they want to find me with cancer, who wants that information?” CEO of data privacy platform Skyflow Anshu Sharma says:

The third front in Apple’s battle could prove to be the most devastating. It’s an online advertising ambition that Alphabet accounts for over 80% of its revenue.

Last summer, Apple posted a position on its jobs page that it was looking for people who would “drive the design of the most privacy-focused and sophisticated demand-side platform possible.” DSP is a digital media buying tool that allows advertisers to purchase ad inventory on multiple exchanges.

The job ad is a sign that Apple is building a radical ad network that will reshape how ads are served to iPhone users and eliminate third-party data brokers.

Keith Weisburg joined the role in September as Group Product Manager for Ad Platforms. Weisburg was a senior product manager for his DSP at Amazon, where he also worked for Google and YouTube for 10 years.

Insider Intelligence analyst Andrew Lipsman says Apple’s move on three fronts makes Alphabet’s position within iOS appear “more fragile than ever”. increase.

“Apple is becoming more and more motivated to get into the search business as it builds out its advertising department,” he said. “Search is the key to a wealth of company data and the new battleground for the future of digital advertising.”

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