The possiblity of an Apple search engine is floating around since the resignation of Eric Schmidt from Apple’s board of directors. Schmidt also works for Google, giving some credence to the idea. While Apple would certainly have an immediate customer base for its engine, it is difficult to say whether or not it could compete with Google.
Approximately 5% of the computer market is devoted to Apple and would go immediately to their engine, leaving Google. However, Google currently pays Apple to put a search bar in Safari. While this amount is not known, some say that it is enough to fund development of Mac OS X. Direct competition with Google would likely put a damper on those funds.
In the end, an Apple search engine would likely take more business from Microsoft’s Bing than from Google. Even if it does become a contender, however, the search results will likely be very similar to Google’s. This means that optimization aimed at Google would still work for the other engine.
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