PC World columnist JR Raphael notes the various rumors that Apple is getting into the search engine business. After noting that the world doesn’t need another search engine, he suggests:
3. If you must get into search, buy Yahoo. Please.Apple isn’t going to buy anything as big as Yahoo, let alone acquire a sinking ship.
Speaking of [Jerry] Yang, there's a floundering search engine with a well-known brand just waiting to be bought. If Apple really wants to get into search, maybe it should consider snatching up Yahoo for the $4.99 price tag it likely holds at this point. Sure, Yahoo isn't exactly prime real estate at the moment -- but it has the potential to be, if people who knew what they were doing were running it. And while the word "success" hasn't been uttered for years at the Yahoo headquarters, the site does still have a sizable amount of users. Plus, if Apple were to buy it, we could finally stop having to hear all the silly announcements and proclamations about "the great new service" or "fantastic deal" Yahoo has in the works -- you know, the one that's really going to turn things around this time.
In 1997, a troubled Apple did sign a deal with big bad (rich) Microsoft to cooperate on software applications and accept a $150 million equity investment.
So it’s plausible that Apple might do a search deal with Yahoo: Steve Jobs could strike a hard bargain on the revenue share — a better deal than it would get with Google, since (other than iPhone on-deck real estate) Apple’s too small to have much bargaining power with the Monster of Mountain View. Apple also has the resources to bring some technology to the deal — just enough so that the iPhone search experience (or Mac?) will be different from what Yahoo! Mobile provides to other phones.