Google paid Apple $20 billion in 2022 to be Safari’s default search engine, court documents reveal

Image Source: Reuters

Google’s payment of $20 billion to Apple in 2022 to remain the default search engine for Safari on iPhone, iPad, and Mac was disclosed in court documents during Google’s antitrust dispute with the U.S. Department of Justice, as reported by Bloomberg. The revelation sheds light on the controversial deal that has long been a focal point in the case against Google’s alleged monopoly on search.

The Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Google has centered on its dominance in the search market, with the Apple search engine deal being a key aspect. Previous documents from the lawsuit suggested that Google was paying a significant portion of its search revenue to Apple, but the exact figure was not known until now.

Since 2002, Google has been the default search engine on Apple devices, but the terms of the agreement have been renegotiated multiple times. Despite efforts to keep the details of the deal confidential, it has been widely acknowledged that Google pays Apple billions each year for this privilege.

Last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella testified that the agreement between Apple and Google hindered competition, making it difficult for search engines like Bing to compete. Microsoft even proposed that Apple acquire Bing, but Apple declined, citing concerns about Bing’s quality and capabilities. Apple’s senior vice president, Eddy Cue, defended the use of Google as the default search engine, stating that Apple believed it was the best option available.

In Europe, Apple has been required to offer more browser options due to the Digital Markets Act. Users can choose their default browser during setup, with more options available than in the United States.

The outcome of the antitrust lawsuit could have significant implications for the Google-Apple deal. If Google loses the case, the agreement between the two tech giants may be dissolved. Closing arguments are expected soon, with a judge’s ruling anticipated later in 2024.

Written by Sophie Blake


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