Rumor has it over at TechCrunch that Apple is working on some type of search engine.
If you think about it, the idea is not so far-fetched: Apple's Safari browser has 6-7% market share and currently uses Google exclusively as the search engine for both the standard and mobile versions on the iPhone and iPod. Through the maligned MobileMe, Apple has a suite of personal productivity tools that bring more traffic to them on a daily basis, which means there is a lot of searching going on without a lot of monetization on Apple's part, according to Michael Arrington.
Plus, there's the Android factor.
Google's Android-y competition to the iPhone is not to be ignored. Arrington notes that Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who sits on Apple's board of directors, usually sits out of discussions involving Apple's mobile strategy.
Big hole in the theory, though: if, in fact, Apple were building a search engine, where are all the search expert and engineer hires? No one's losing any bodies to Apple...yet.
Plus, Apple is on the receiving end of considerable fees from Google for search marketing money earned from Safari -- and without an advertising business, too, Google would still be relied upon.
So it looks like there's no full-scale search momentum going on at Apple -- but for a company built around innovation and UI (and marketing), perhaps this is working toward a new interface built around search.
What do you think?