iOS 8: Is It Going To Change The Mobile Search Landscape?

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled iOS 8, a new operating system for the iPhone and iPad, at its WWDC earlier this month. Among several features, the company announced changes to search functionality with the iOS 8. The Cupertino-based company is adding web search to its Spotlight functionality, and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Bing is the default search engine for this.

With new Spotlight in iOS 8, Apple trying to deemphasize mobile web browser

Currently, Spotlight doesn’t offer web search functionality. So, Bing’s win in this case is unlikely to have any real impact on Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s iPhone revenue stream, believe Goldman Sachs analysts Heather Bellini, Shateel Alam and Justin Rowley. Though this iOS 8 change won’t affect Google’s P&L, it does signal a change in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s strategy against Google and the mobile search market as a whole, adds Goldman Sachs.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hopes that incorporating web search with Spotlight in iOS 8 would deemphasize the mobile web browser and minimize Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s influence on mobile search. Goldman Sachs says that web search through Spotlight isn’t going to ruin the web search ecosystem. It’s more about changing the way users access search engines. But Google won’t stand still in the mobile search war. The company’s Android dominates about 80% of the smartphone market. Google has also been making product enhancements in voice and mobile search.

Will iOS 8 give Bing ways to monetize search queries through Spotlight?

By bringing web search to Spotlight with iOS 8, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is trying to take Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s web browser experience out of the equation. Users have grown accustomed to Google’s user-friendly search results. That makes it difficult for users to switch to other search engines. If the iPhone maker succeeds in drawing users away from web browser to its Spotlight, it would reduce Google’s browser-based advantage.

The iOS 8 and the new Spotlight are yet to be released. So, a big question right now is whether Bing will be able to monetize web queries through Spotlight feature in the same way as Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) monetizes search queries through web browser.

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