蘋果未來 12 個月可能進軍搜尋業務

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文章分類 : Apple, Research

投資研究網站 Seeking Alpha 日前刊文稱,有充分的理由相信,蘋果會在未來 12 個月內推出自己的搜索引擎服務。

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投資研究網站 Seeking Alpha 日前刊文稱,有充分的理由相信,蘋果會在未來 12 個月內推出自己的搜索引擎服務。

產品形態

該文章稱,蘋果的搜索產品不會與 Google 直接展開競爭,比拚收納訊息的數量與搜索的性能,而是會提供個性化搜索服務。蘋果的搜索引擎會使用機器學習技術,並把搜索範圍限制在用家信任的來源裡。

這篇文章還就可能的功能細節指出,蘋果的搜索將基於地理位置訊息,以及個人的影響力圈子。該公司會把升級後的 Siri 整合進應用中,並在應用中加入原生命令支持語音操作,從而在整個 iOS 產業鏈中部署這一個性化搜索服務。

而這也正是蘋果與 Google 在 iOS 與 Android 之爭中體現出來的根本區別。蘋果的競爭優勢在於用家體驗,以及大眾認可的產業鏈設計。

原因

至於這種觀點產生的原因,該文援引此前摩根士丹利的分析指出,當 Google 搜索被蘋果 iOS 中的 Safari 瀏覽器採用時,預計 Google 每年可因此獲得 13 億美元營收,但為了成為默認搜索引擎 Google 需向蘋果支付 10 億美元。雙方都可因此獲利。然而由於 Google Android 平台搶佔了蘋果市場,兩家公司間的關係愈發緊張。因此蘋果設備的服務逐漸脫離對 Google 產品的依賴。

另外,以 Siri 和 Google Now 的競爭為例,許多人表示 Google Now 的速度比 Siri 稍快,但缺少 Siri 那種人性化的色彩。速度上的差別是因為 Siri 最初使用 Yahoo 搜索,以及維基百科、WolframAlpha、Yelp 等其他網站的訊息,防止 Google 獲取 Siri 用家的訊息,但最終也不免使用 Google 的資源來保證基本功能。因為存在這種性能上的差異,蘋果無疑需要強化在搜索上的表現。

第三,提供預測搜索與訊息發現服務的科技公司 Grokr 近期宣佈關停業務,並重新推出了一個名為「NEXT」的新項目。雖然官方並未發佈聲明,但有證據顯示,蘋果有可能收購了 Grokr。Grokr 的應用已經從蘋果官方應用網店 App Store 中的下架,而且蘋果擁有「NeXT」的商標(來自喬布斯出走創辦的創業公司)。

蘋果搜索引擎項目至少已經開展了數年,像這種量級的產品極耗時間。收購那些提供地理位置服務的公司,在全美興建大型數據中心,這些舉動絕非巧合。如果 Grokr 確實是被蘋果收購,那麼就表明蘋果對個性化搜索戰略非常看重。

市場格局與影響

Google 憑藉廣告模式證明了搜索業務的可營利性,而蘋果的 iOS 也是這種業務中的重要一環。個性化搜索工具將給更具針對性的個性化廣告帶來機會,這裡面的利潤會相當豐厚。

Google 每年在搜索上獲得的營收大約為 310 億美元,哪怕蘋果只有 Google 10% 的份額,那也是 31 億美元的收入。若按照 20% 的稅後利潤率計算,蘋果的每股收益會因此上漲差不多 1 美元。那麼對應現在的市盈率,股價就會上漲超過 10 美元。

目前,這款個性化搜索引擎應該接近完工,並在用家測試階段,或者在為即將到來的發布做最後修改。如果真的如此,個性化搜索將完美整合進蘋果的產品線中,賦予其再次推出革命性硬件產品的能力。

Source : SeekingAphla

There has been plenty of speculation over the past year about whether or not Apple (AAPL) can continue to prosper in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death or if there is anything groundbreaking in the pipeline. While most people are focused on an “iWatch” or an “iTV”, they could be missing the big picture. Apple is a secretive company that is all about dazzling consumers. While a functional, interactive watch and an interactive television would be a great steps in advancing the technological envelope, they would not, by themselves, be sufficient to bring Apple back to being the world’s largest (by market cap) and most exciting company. Available information leads to the conclusion that Apple has something far bigger in its pipeline.

Breaking Away from Google

Historically, Google (GOOG) has primarily been a search company and Apple has been a consumer electronics company, so they were natural business partners. Apple benefitted by using Google for searches and mapping on its iOS platform, which made iPhones and iPads highly functional. Similarly, Google benefitted by selling advertisements using the information it gathers through its searching and mapping services. An analyst at Morgan Stanley estimated that Google makes $1.3 billion in revenue annually from being the default search engine in the Safari browser on iOS, but pays Apple $1 billion for the right to be the default search engine. Apple enjoys the $1 billion of pure profit, while Google benefits from a virtual monopoly on iOS searches. However, their relationship has become heated in the past few years as Google’s Android platform has encroached in Apple’s mobile device space.

It’s no secret that Google is now Apple’s biggest competitor and that the two technology giants are trying to sever ties with each other so that they are not relying on their adversary for core aspects of their respective businesses. This trend became apparent when Apple removed Youtube and Google Maps from the core bundle of apps in iOS 6 and released is own mapping software (Maps). Although Maps was initially full of bugs and not well received (it has since been improved), it signaled the beginning of the end for the partnership between Apple and Google. One obvious solution to Apple’s search problem would be to partner with Yahoo and to integrate Yahoo’s search engine into all Apple products. This, however, is very unlikely since Yahoo’s search capabilities are mediocre and likely would not be up to Apple’s standards in the long run.

Recent Acquisitions

In the past couple of years, Apple has been bolstering its technology portfolio in preparation for the day when it becomes independent from Google. For example, Siri was originally an iOS app that was going to be made available for BlackBerry and Android as well. However, in 2010, Apple saw the possibilities of having an intelligent “personal assistant” in its devices and purchased Siri in order to make it proprietary in the iOS operating system. Google released Google Now in 2012 in order to directly compete with Siri. When directly comparing the two, many people say that Google Now is slightly quicker than Siri, but it lacks Siri’s human-like personality. The difference in speed is because Siri first attempts to use Yahoo’s inferior search engine and other reputable online resources such as Wikipedia, WolframAlpha, and Yelp to answer basic inquiries in order to prevent Google from routinely obtaining search information on Siri users. Siri will, however, use Google resources as a last resort. The table below illustrates Siri’s reliance on various services to deliver data. The numbers from Piper Jaffray show that Siri has cut its reliance on Google by half in iOS6.

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