Apple Should Acquire Privacy Search Engine DuckDuckGo, Analyst Suggests

Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi suggests in a research note that Apple should purchase the privacy search engine DuckDuckGo for about $1 billion to gain lucrative ad dollars and put pressure on Google, according to one report.

The analyst thinks Google has stayed with Apple to keep Microsoft from stepping into the vacated deal. Google would also have to walk away from the roughly $15 billion in profits it gets from iOS.

In the research note, Sacconaghi reiterated an Outperform rating on Apple, noting that it would be easy for Google to break off with Apple. “Bing would arguably only have to capture only [one-third] of what Google currently does for it to be economically accretive and is Google willing to risk a resurgence of Bing to save a few billion dollars?” writes StreetInsider.com.

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DuckDuckGo delivered a 38% increase in organic search visits in Q1 2020, a bit slower than the past couple of quarters. In Q3 2019, DuckDuckGo visits were up 68% year-over-year, according to agency Merkle.

While Bing saw larger declines in organic search visits than Google in Q1 2020, Google’s share of all U.S. organic search visits rose from 91% in Q1 2019 to 92% in Q1 2020. On mobile devices, Google generated 96% of organic search visits in Q1 2020, according to Merkle data.

With Safari and Siri, Apple seems to be content with its search capabilities, opting to pay between $7 billion and $8 billion annually to license Google Search, the default engine for its iOS devices.

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, who is credited with creating the first personal computer, hardly mentions the topic of search engines in public. During a keynote in 2015 at NAMM in Anaheim, California, he said he would rather go to the store to touch and feel products than buy them online

Wozniak added that humans should be the masters of computers, not slaves to them. He also said he doesn’t have much use for search engines, and that he prefers more personal research, such as walking into a store, looking around, and asking questions.

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