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Thursday, April 11, 2013, 07:21 am PT (10:21 am ET)

Broader Apple-Yahoo partnership viewed as logical step for both to fight Google

Rumors of a growing alliance between Apple and Yahoo for delivering information to iPhone users have been met positively by one Wall Street analysts, who sees strong benefits for both parties in the relationship, particularly in combating Google.

Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee believes a strengthened partnership with Yahoo would help Apple lessen its dependence on Google, which has become a major rival thanks largely to its role in developing the Android mobile platform. Apple has already made an effort to push Google out from the iPhone by creating its own mapping solution, and removing YouTube as a default built-in iOS application.

Yahoo on iOS

Examples of Yahoo data on iOS.


The growing tension between Apple and Google has made Yahoo the "Switzerland of Internet companies," Wu said in a note to investors on Thursday. That's helped to make Yahoo an ideal partner for Apple as it looks for alternatives to Google.

The analyst cited various industry data, which has shown that Apple's iOS platform, which powers the iPhone and iPad, is the best for mobile monetization. This could become an issue for Google, as its ties with Apple are reduced and its presence on the iPhone becomes marginalized.

Wu noted that despite the fact that Android controls roughly 70 percent of the smartphone platform market share, iOS accounts for more mobile traffic — 42 percent — than Android's 31 percent presence. In addition, Apple's iOS accounts for 51 percent of mobile revenue, while Android takes just 30 percent.

As a result, as Apple finds new ways to push out Google in favor of Yahoo, the changes are likely to affect Google's ability to monetize Apple's iOS platform.

However, Wu noted that the reality is many Apple users love Google services, including Google Maps and YouTube — two of the most popular applications available for iOS. As a result, he questioned whether Apple itself, Yahoo or someone else can provide superior content and services.

Wu is also particularly interested in the potential that Apple's voice-driven Siri provides, as it has the ability to simply bypass Google. The use of services like Wolfram Alpha and the elimination of Google Maps were found to have helped cut Siri's reliance on Google in half with the launch of iOS 6 late last year.

The new analysis from Wu was made in reaction to a report from earlier this week which claimed that Apple and Yahoo are in talks about ways to better integrate the search company's various services into iOS. Yahoo already provides data such as stock and weather information to Apple's native iOS applications.

Citing an unnamed source familiar with discussions, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is considering preloading data from Yahoo News and other Yahoo Web properties onto iOS devices. Most of the functionality is expected to be tied in to Siri, where Yahoo already provides sports scores on demand.