In 2018, Apple explored alternatives to Google as the default search engine in Safari’s private browsing mode, revealing insights during the Google monopoly trial.
DuckDuckGo’s Discussions with Apple
DuckDuckGo’s CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, disclosed that his company engaged in approximately 20 meetings and calls with Apple in 2018 and 2019. The discussions revolved around the potential of DuckDuckGo becoming the default search engine for Safari’s private mode. However, the deal ultimately fell through.
Apple’s Concerns and Monopoly Trial Implications
At that time, Apple’s search division was led by John Giannandrea. He expressed apprehensions, noting that DuckDuckGo relied on the Bing search platform, potentially sharing user data with Microsoft. Giannandrea found DuckDuckGo’s privacy claims somewhat inconsistent. In February 2019, he cautioned Apple executives against setting DuckDuckGo as Safari’s default search in private mode, suggesting it was “probably a bad idea.” He even indicated that if the change was insisted upon, he would advocate for a more thorough evaluation of DuckDuckGo.
The ongoing US Department of Justice trial aims to prove Google’s monopoly in the web search market, citing the Apple-DuckDuckGo deal as evidence, notes NIX Solutions. Additionally, reports suggest Microsoft contemplated selling its Bing search engine to Apple, which could have significant implications for Google’s position on Apple devices.