Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is advancing the development of its own search engine technology as Google, owned by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), faces pressure from US antitrust regulators over payments previously made to secure the dominance of its own search engine on iPhone devices.
According to a Financial Times report, iOS 14, the latest version of Apple’s iPhone operating system, has begun to show the tech giant’s own results and link directly to websites when users maker search queries on its home screen.
READ: Apple unveils new iPhone 12 smartphone range
The move marks a significant acceleration in Apple’s development of an in-house web search capability, potentially laying the groundwork for an effort to challenge Google’s dominance of the search engine market.
An in-house search engine would also allow Apple to use an alternative if US authorities decided to block its partnership with Google, with the Department of Justice having launched a case last week accusing the search giant of abusing its monopoly in the market to achieve default status on the iPhone and other Apple products to the tune of US$8-US$12 billion per year.
Suspicions that Apple is developing an in-house rival to Google have also been bolstered after the company poached Google’s head of search John Giannandrea just over two years ago.
Shares in Apple were down 1.2% at US$115 in pre-market trading in New York on Wednesday, while Alphabet was 1.8% lower at US$1,569.