Apple is cutting out the middle man by replacing its Yahoo-made default weather app with one from The Weather Channel on iOS 8. The new app offers more detailed weather statistics and longer forecasts.
The deal comes as a result of efforts by CEO David Kenny, a former Yahoo board member. Kenny started work on a new weather app when he took his position in 2013, hoping to cut Yahoo out of the large smartphone platform. Yahoo's weather app already got its information from The Weather Channel, but by cutting it out of the deal, Apple gets an array of new features for its default app, and The Weather Channel gets a prominent platform to raise the visibility of its services.
"Yahoo had been renting ocean-front property for years and did not realize the lease was up, and the Weather Channel slipped right in and took it," a Yahoo executive told re/code. "It's a high-profile loss."
The Weather Channel app features a nine day forecast instead of five, and can provide more precise information by further narrowing down the user's location over the Yahoo app. The app also contains sunrise and sunset times, precipitation chance, humidity, and wind speed and direction.
Although Yahoo did not profit directly from the app, as it contained no ads, the added visibility to the Yahoo name served to drive customers to the company's other offerings. With the weather app out the window, many at Yahoo are worried that the stock app will be next. The current default stock app on iOS is provided by Yahoo, but with The Weather Channel's subversion showing a possible sign of weakness, other companies could seek to take advantage. Bloomberg, Reuters, and CNBC are all on the short list of companies who could seek to overthrow Yahoo's stock app on iOS 8.
The move undoubtedly represents a big step back for Yahoo. The company is trying to become the default search engine on iOS, a position currently held by Microsoft's Bing, but it seems to be having enough trouble simply holding on to what it already has. Without a hardware business to fall back on, Yahoo will have some work ahead to pull itself up from this defeat.