Apple is ramping up efforts to develop its own search engine, according to a Financial Times report published Wednesday, as US antitrust authorities threaten a lucrative deal that sets Google’s search engine as the default option on iPhones and Samsung phones.
The iPhone’s latest operating system version, iOS 14, has started to show its own search results and to link directly to websites when users type in search queries directly from the home screen, according to industry sources cited in the report.
This behavior adds to mounting evidence, according to the report, that Apple is working to build a rival to Google search, including Apple’s hiring of John Giannandrea, Google’s head of search, more than two years ago.
Earlier this month, the US Justice Department filed a long-expected antitrust lawsuit against Google over its search dominance, alleging that Google “unlawfully maintained monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets.”
At the heart of the Justice Department’s case are Google’s contracts with other companies, which allow the tech giant’s search engine to be used as the default option. Google pays billions of dollars each year to maintain that default spot.