The US Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Google has shed light on one of the industry’s best-kept secrets: the exact sum that Google pays Apple to be the default search engine on its devices. A figure that had been closely guarded since the beginning of Google’s trial and has now finally been unveiled.
It could be Apple’s turn for the search engine spotlight
According to Bloomberg, Google transfers to Apple 36% of the revenue generated by searches made on the Safari browser of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, which amounts to a colossal figure.
Este acuerdo, active since 2002 and revised multiple times, not only brings significant benefits to Apple but also secures Google’s position as the default search option on the world’s most popular mobile devices. In fact, it’s estimated that Apple receives between 18 to 20 billion dollars annually from this deal, roughly representing about 15% of its yearly operating profits.
However, Google offering this deal hasn’t been without controversies. The US Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Google focuses precisely on this agreement, arguing that it might constitute a search monopoly. Lawyers have fought to keep the agreement’s details confidential, claiming that revealing them would harm Google’s competitive position.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of services, testified during the trial in October, revealing that Google is the default search engine on the iPhone because, according to Apple, it’s the best choice. However, this situation could change if Google loses the antitrust lawsuit. A loss could lead to the dissolution of the agreement between the companies, prompting Apple to offer users a choice of search engines when setting up their devices.
Developing their own search engine and losing billions from Google is a hard sell to Apple’s shareholders. However, now, the trial’s outcome could entirely shift the landscape, prompting Apple to consider creating a search engine. In fact, under the leadership of John Giannandrea, Apple’s head of artificial intelligence, work is already underway on a search engine for Apple apps, potentially laying the groundwork for a complete alternative to Google Search.
The final decision of the trial and the potential appeals processes will prolong the resolution of this case, but what is certain is that, just like the Fortnite trial against Google and while Google expands its AI-powered search engine to more countries, the outcome could significantly reshape the technological and internet search landscape. We’ll see how events unfold.