- Agreed, it's better if DDG remains independent.
- It's hard to predict what Apple will do. This is the company that secretly kept an Intel chip version of OS X in developement, just in case IBM quit making CPU chips so it would not surprise me if they have some sort of general search engine solution plan in the skunkworks. (It's real important that they crawl the web and build their own index of the web.)
- It will still take time for any Apple search engine to become good. Once it does become good, it's great advertising for Apple products even if it has no ads.
- Way back when, I wanted Apple to buy Yahoo so they could get ahold of the search engine code from the search engines Yahoo had gobbled up (Inktomi, AltaVista, AlltheWeb) but now I'm glad they didn't. All those engines/crawlers predated Google. Each was trying to invent the wheel for the first time for a tottally new concept. Today, I think it's better to code a search engine from scratch rather than trying to fix old code. It's no longer something new and frankly, none of those 3 old search engines were all that good.