Munster: Apple will build a search engine

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Ha! Hold on. Let me walk around a little, calm down. Ummm… so Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, the guy who was right about the iPad because he wouldn’t shut up about it for most of the last five years, is saying there’s a “70% chance” that Apple will build a search engine. Barring thought that Apple needs to run a search engine like a fish needs to run a bicycle factory, let’s look at what he’s saying (via BusinessInsider)

We believe Apple could utilize data unavailable to Google, data generated by the company’s App Store, to create a mobile centric search engine, which would be a unique offering to Google’s search engine.

An iPhone specific search engine could be a difficult undertaking, but we feel Apple could make a minor acquisition of a search company that has built a web index, like a Cuil, and utilize the index as the base for building its own engine.

We believe the odds of Apple developing a search engine in the next five years are 70%. One hurdle for Apple in developing its own search engine would be generating enough advertiser interest to form a competitive marketplace; however, we believe the rationale for an Apple search product is to protect data rather than generate profit.

While I rarely enjoy point-by-point takedowns, I’m feeling rather frisky on this one. Let’s begin:

1. We believe Apple could utilize data unavailable to Google, data generated by the company’s App Store, to create a mobile centric search engine. – So this would search for popular Apps? Is that a “search engine” or a Genius system for apps. I suspect the latter. Maybe Gene didn’t get the the right term when he checked his Webster’s Dictionary of Computer Terms he bought in college.

2. we feel Apple could make a minor acquisition of a search company that has built a web index, like a Cuil – Remember Cuil? Well no one else does. Apparently someone mentioned Cuil at Munster’s bridge club tournament after reading about it an an old 2008 issue of Fast Company they found in the dentist’s office and it stuck. Someone could have said AltaVista and the same thing could have happened.

3. One hurdle for Apple in developing its own search engine would be generating enough advertiser interest – Because who wouldn’t want to work arm-in-arm a distant, far-from-mainstream search contender dedicated to sifting the ether for data on Hot Tub Time Machine soundboards?

4. we believe the rationale for an Apple search product is to protect data rather than generate profit. – Now this one is rich. Apparently Smith & Wollensky had two-for-one martini night and Munster’s dining partner – the one who probably planted this seed in the first place – apparently partook. “Protect data rather than generate profit” sounds exactly like something Apple would do. After all, they’re in the business of making things better for all of us. If you haven’t visited the Apple Health Centers where they can cure future brain embolisms by bathing you in purple light, you’re missing out. Just don’t take their flu vaccine.

I hate to single anyone out – we all make crazy proclamations, especially when we’re hopped up on Skittles and chocolate milk (not naming names) – but WTF? This is more egregious than usual, friends. Analysts know little more than we do, and that’s not saying much.

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