Apple is set to build its own search engine within the next five years, according to latest reports from analysts.
Respected Apple analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray is the latest to claim that Apple will build its own search engine.
"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," says the analyst.
The Piper Jaffray man added: "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.
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"We believe the odds of Apple developing a search engine in the next five years are 70 per cent. 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."
Munster goes on to claim that Apple will also develop its own maps offering, in order to offer full search and mapping functions on its mobile devices in the near future, because surrendering maps to Google (as it currently does on the iPhone) gives Google valuable location-based data on its customers.