Rumor: Mayer wants Yahoo to be default search on iPhones

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Marissa Mayer is a smart woman and she sees that the future of computing is on mobile devices. Perhaps that explains why a recent re/code story suggests that Mayer is pushing hard to make Yahoo the default search engine on iPhones.

re/code reports that while there is no deal in sight right now, Mayer is reportedly pushing Apple hard to make this happen.

Google currently holds that distinction and Mayer can see the value of having her company's search engine as the default on the iPhone, which many studies have found to have the most active and engaged Internet users. That very likely means they are conducting a fair number of searches and Mayer wants her company's search tool to show up first. Who can blame her?

Previous rumors have suggested Mayer is trying to get out from under her contract with Microsoft too. Yahoo search has been running Bing under the hood for several years as part of a long-term contract with Microsoft signed before Mayer came on board as CEO. She desperately wants to regain control of that aspect of her business as a way to drive lucrative advertising revenue without sharing that with Microsoft.

Danny Sullivan, who has been writing about search on Search Engine Land for years, and knows as much about the subject as just about anyone out there, wonders how this will work. He points out that Yahoo doesn't actually have a search engine of its own right now (although he points to the two mobile search projects that Kara Swisher at re/code has reported on in the past called Fast Break and Curveball.) These two products would have the potential at least to bring search back under the control of Yahoo.

But as Sullivan makes clear, Yahoo has been out of the search game for a number of years now after ceding its search tool to the Bing deal, and search has changed dramatically since the last time they created a search tool.

At this point, who can blame Mayer for trying? It's her job to pull as many strings as she can and make something happen. If she could pull this off, it would certainly be a big leap forward for Yahoo, assuming as Sullivan suggested, they could do it after so many years away from the game.

For more information:
- see the re/code article
- see Danny Sullivan's analysis on Search Engine Land

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