Earlier this week, we discovered that Yahoo would be the default search engine on AT&T’s first Android handset, the Motorola Backflip. That’s a first as far as I know, an Android device that doesn’t present Google as the featured search engine.
However, in the bad-news column for Yahoo, according to PaidContent, T-Mobile has now swapped it for Google as the default search engine on the T-Mobile portal. However it’s no longer clear how valuable these portal deals are, as the market shifts to smartphones. Most of the mobile internet activity takes place on smartphones, though not entirely.
Consumers have more options to access the content and services they are loyal to on smartphones, rather than simply accepting and using the carrier-designated services. Though it’s an “empirical question” anecodotal evidence argues that carrier portals have little or no impact on smartphone users. They may exist in some form but can simply be ignored by consumers.
Google is already the dominant mobile search engine, so this switcheroo of the T-Mobile “default” relationship doesn’t necessarily help Google or harm Yahoo in a major way. There will be some incremental loss or gain (depending on which company we’re talking about) in search query volume and related clicks however.
The US-search engine carrier alliances are now as follows:
- Verizon-Bing (although Android phones feature Google)
- Sprint-Google (and MSFT to a much lesser degree)
- T-Mobile-Google (the company still has a search relationship with Yahoo in Europe)
Postscript: PaidContent also has details of a Yahoo reoganization that saw the elimination of the mobile group, in favor of a more integrated approach in which mobile is component of everything.