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, Google’s head of search, more than two years ago.
Earlier this month, theover 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.
Google has been the iPhone’s default search engine for more than a decade. It’s been widely reported that Google pays Apple between $8 billion and 12 billion each year for its search engine deal, which is a boon for both tech giants. If it turns out the deal is blocked by the DOJ, Apple will need to supply an alternative for its iPhones.
Apple couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.