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Yahoo wants to replace Google to become default search engine on iOS, report says

Marissa Mayer has been working diligently to revive the fortunes of Web firm Yahoo since taking the reins back in July 2012, though the enormity of the task means the challenge is far from over.

Decisions have included hiring hundreds of engineers to help bolster Yahoo’s gargantuan site and its slew of services; making a ton of acquisitions, such as Tumblr, which has given Yahoo access to a younger generation of users; and making a commitment to mobile, a growing sector of the market where it needs to establish itself in order to take on the likes of Google and Facebook, who currently dominate when it comes to revenue from mobile ads.

According to a Re/code report Wednesday, part of Mayer’s plan to make the company’s presence felt in the mobile space involves trying to convince Apple to replace Google with Yahoo as the default search engine on all of those iDevices out there.

Speaking to unnamed insiders at Yahoo, the report says Mayer has prepped a detailed pitch that she hopes will be enough to persuade Apple executives to take a serious look at her proposition and ultimately make Yahoo the default search service on the Cupertino company’s mobile phones and tablets.

No official meeting has yet taken place between the two companies, though Mayer has reportedly talked with some Apple executives about the idea, including long-time friend Jony Ive.

Trying to ‘grab the pole position in iOS search’

“This is the aim of the whole effort here, to grab the pole position in iOS search,” an unnamed source told Re/code, adding that it’s currently one of Mayer’s main goals.

That the Yahoo boss might get her way is not impossible. After all, Yahoo already provides the data for the weather and finance apps on iOS devices. In addition, Apple had few qualms about getting rid of Google Maps as its default mapping app, though admittedly the company replaced that one with its own equivalent app (sort of).

However, when it comes to search, Google remains the go-to service for Web users across most platforms, so Apple would be understandably wary about suddenly switching to Yahoo. Service quality would be a concern, too, with one of Re/code’s sources questioning whether Yahoo has adequate technology yet to power an effective and efficient mobile search product.

Oh, and there’s also the small matter of the annual $1 billion payment that the Mountain View company currently hands over to Apple for keeping its search engine as the default option on iOS devices.

Of course, iOS users can switch search engines by going into settings, but considering many just go with the default service, Yahoo’s apparent plan to get its offering front and center on millions of Apple devices is perfectly understandable. Whether it can achieve this is another matter entirely.

[Image: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock]

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