The battle of web browsers and search engines has been a recurring topic in the tech world for decades. In this environment, and especially in recent years, one of the biggest questions has revolved around why Apple, a company known for its stance on privacy and security, chooses Google as the default search engine, a major advertising and data company. The answer, as revealed by Eddy Cue, head of Apple Services, is simple.
“In 2016, there wasn’t a viable alternative”
This testimony arises in the context of an antitrust lawsuit between Google and the U.S. Department of Justice, where this agreement is being questioned, among other things. The relationship between Apple and Google may seem paradoxical, especially considering the fundamental differences in their corporate philosophies regarding privacy. However, Cue emphasized that Apple has incorporated multiple privacy safeguards into its Safari browser, and the agreement with Google requires the search giant to allow users to search without signing in. According to the executive, this is enough to protect searches made from Apple devices.
According to what we can read on The Verge, the reason behind this choice is not financial, even though Google pays Apple for that privileged space on the company’s devices.
“We’ve always thought [Google] was the best,” Cue said, suggesting that the choice of the default search engine was not simply based on a financial agreement but on the quality of the service it provides. In a world where competition is fierce and options are just a click away, Apple chose Google because in 2016, when the last negotiation took place, “there wasn’t a viable alternative to Google,” and Cue maintains that there still isn’t.
Apple’s commitment to privacy is undeniable, and the choice of Google does not undermine this principle, according to Cue. The executive also explains that if the search engine is not mentioned during the iPhone setup process, it is to get users to start using their devices “as quickly as possible.” Additionally, changing the default search engine is extremely simple in the Settings app.
The trial, which we should remember has nothing to do with Apple, even though some of its executives have been summoned to clarify points of the agreement, continues. We will see how the courts judge Google. In the meantime, we know a lot more about Apple’s stance on the choice of the default search engine for their devices.