The coveted spot as default search provider for Apple Safari browser is up for grabs and Google, Bing, and Yahoo! are all fighting for a piece of this prime Internet real estate.

According to a recent report by Search Engine Journal reporter Matt Southern, Google may not have a lock on the deal; and that could trigger a major shake up in the search engine market.

Though Google has been a part of the Safari ecosystem for some time, Apple executives haven’t been happy with what they see as Google’s encroachment on their markets.

This includes Google’s role in the development of the Android mobile OS, as well as their advancements in voice search. (Which could potentially pull users from SIRI.)

The big winner in this web-based turf war could be Bing, Microsoft’s long-suffering second place search engine. According to SEJ, Bing has a good shot at landing the default Apple spot and that could change everything in the search world.

As it stands today, Safari commands a full 48% of all phone searches; 69% of the tablet market; and just 9% of all desktop searches. In world that’s moving towards mobile search at lightening speed, that’s a very big deal.

Not only do Apple products have great mobile market share, they also has some pretty high-end demographics.

That fact was pointed out by one person who probably won’t wind up grabbing the Apple deal, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer. She told reporters:

The Safari platform is basically one of the premier search deals in the world—if not the premier search deal in the world. Safari users are among the most engaged and lucrative users in the world. And it’s something that we would really like to be able to provide.

For Bing, which currently commands about 18.7% of the search market, landing a deal with Apple could be the game changer they’ve been looking for. Of course that also puts Apple in a very enviable negotiating position.

Not only is the electronics giant the most profitable company in the world, they can practically dictate the terms of what looks to be a very big deal.


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