Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Will Bing Sneak Onto the iPad?

Sure, Apple and Google have gone from pals to frenemies to outright rivals. But would Steve Jobs and company really dump the search giant in favor of Microsoft’s Bing?

Speculation about a potential Google/Bing swap on Apple’s platforms has swirled for months, but Barclays Capital analyst Douglas Anmuth notes that we’ll get our first real clue in a couple days.

When Apple ships its first iPads on Saturday, lots of Google (GOOG) investors will head straight to the gadget’s Web browser to see which search engine Apple (AAPL) is using as its default choice. Straightforward logic: If Bing ends up on the iPad, then the iPhone–with its installed base of 48 million units–would be next.

Microsoft (MSFT) would certainly like to have pole position, and Anmuth notes that the company has bought Bing some distribution via toolbar deals with HP (HPQ), Dell (DELL), Verizon (VZ) and others. So what does he think will happen this weekend?

Overall, we believe there is a better than 50% probability that Google remains the default on Apple mobile devices–if nothing more because Apple is extremely focused on the user experience and Google’s 65%+ search market share speaks for itself. As a result, Apple may not want to risk disrupting the iPad or iPhone user experience with a shift to Bing.

Shorter version: Google may stay. Or go. We’ll see.

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