Bernstein's top Apple analyst made the case for the company acquiring DuckDuckGo on CNBC's The Exchange Friday:
Google pays $8 billion a year and ultimately generates $25 billion a year from search on iOS, on Apple's operating system. And the reason it pays that much we believe is that if it doesn't someone else—like Microsoft—might.
The worry of course for Apple is let's say one day Microsoft says "search isn't that important to us, we have other priorities. In which case there is no counter bid and Google could turn around and say we're only going to pay you half a billion Apple, and that would be very risky to Apple.
And hence, could you have a stalking horse, is there something Apple could do that would provide an inexpensive insurance policy to keep Google and/or Microsoft at the table bidding for this asset.
Cue the video:
Maintains Market Perform rating and (deep underwater) $285 price target.
My take: Sacconaghi concludes that privacy-oriented DuckDuckGo is the search engine Apple would probably want to buy, a conclusion NYU's Scott Galloway also reached. See Galloway's Four Weddings and a Funeral.