Apple Subpoenaed for Details on iOS Search Deal in Google Antitrust Investigation

googlelogoBloomberg reports that antitrust investigators with the Federal Trade Commission have issued a subpoena to Apple requesting information on the company's deal to make Google the default search engine on iOS. Google has been reported to have paid Apple $1 billion last year in the iOS search deal, and the subpoena is part of an ongoing antitrust investigation of Google over its actions to lock up search engine traffic.

The agency’s request for documents includes the agreements that made Google the preferred search engine on Apple’s mobile devices, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly and declined to be identified. Google rivals such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) have criticized these agreements as anticompetitive.

The subpoena indicates the FTC is intensifying its scrutiny of Google’s business practices. Details of the Apple-Google relationship may show whether Google is abusing its dominance of Internet search to boost revenue in the mobile phone advertising market, said Allen Grunes, an antitrust lawyer at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP in Washington.

The investigation is also looking more broadly at how Google's advertising rates and search results may be being manipulated to give Google an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

With Android and iOS now together holding the vast majority of smartphone market share, Google's search engine possesses a dominating position in the rapidly-growing mobile search space. With mobile search expected to pass desktop search within the next few years, Google's dominance and its tie-ins to its own advertising services are garnering significant attention from regulators.

Top Rated Comments

camnchar Avatar
122 months ago
Yeah, how about a legal.macrumors.com subdomain or at least a separate blog for the legal stuff?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coolfactor Avatar
122 months ago
Google is easy to use, but it's not the best search engine anymore. The algorithm worked for many years when the internet was "young." Someone needs to step up and come up with a new method. Now when I type in Rick Santorum, well you get the idea. It's flawed, it's vanilla, homogenous, easily tricked, and focused on 24 year old geeks results. Just like their demographic for Google+.

I'm not following. How could the results (for "Rick Santorum") be improved? Can you elaborate? While I think Google's array of "services" needs to be scrutinized, I am fairly confident in their search algorithms, but I'm open to being educated. :)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mad-B-One Avatar
122 months ago
Just wait a sec...

...I have to google the background to that story real quick! :D

I have an alternative explanation for their dominance: Ease of use! Ever looked at the competition? Their start page is cluttered most of the time and you have it harder to destinguish between search results and advertisement. Regardless how much you like or hate Google, you got to admit, it is easy to see what is an add and where do the results show. The manipulation of results is another problem. There might be some undue manipulation going on. Dominance though - that is totally a result of the inability of the competition to keep it simple and to the point.

Just a little disclaimer: I did not just compare all search engines, but I've been around for a while and seen how Lycos, Ask.com, Yahoo, MSN, etc try to cause me eye cancer with a color bombardement as soon as I try to look something up.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbeagle Avatar
122 months ago
I don't see why Apple should be fined for setting Google's search engine as their default. As long as the choice (uh-oh! theres that word again in apple-land) is there to switch to a different one, does it matter?
This is not the issue. The issue is whether Google gave kick-backs to Apple for using their search engine as the default.

Google is the one that would be in trouble, not Apple.

Remember back in the 90's when Microsoft got in legal trouble for using Internet Explorer as the default browser for Windows? Sort of the same issue here - just that Microsoft made both Windows AND Internet Explorer.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WardC Avatar
122 months ago
I have been on the Internet since 1995, since I was a teenager...

In the early days, there were several major search engines, none of which were perfect or gave relevant, properly weighted results. Sometimes you would have to use several search engines together to get the information you were looking for....

Those that I remember most:

• Yahoo
• Altavista (altavista.digital.com)
• Lycos
• Hotbot
• WebCrawler
• Excite

I went to San Francisco in 2000 for the Macworld Expo Conference. The morning of the keynote address, when I was in line waiting to enter the Moscone Center, this guy comes up to me, passing out flyers....he says: "Hey, we have this new start-up, we're a search engine and we're called Google, you should check us out!" This was the first time I had ever heard of Google -- January 5th, 2000. So then I checked out Google later that day and started using it. I was absolutely amazed at the accuracy, relevance, speed, and number of useful/valid results I was getting from this search engine -- Google. I started using Google as my default search engine from that point forward, and have not looked back. I was using this even before Apple put it as the default browser in Safari, or even before Safari was released, for that matter -- I was using Google with Mac OS 9.

All I can say about this, is that Google is the best, fastest, and largest search engine in the world...the database and the algorithms are still better than anything out there. The servers and network that power Google can handle the traffic and never choke up. They sort of do have a 'monopoly' in the search-engine world, but couldn't you say the same thing about Apple and the tablet market? Not one company makes a competitive product to the iPad, and nobody makes a search engine quite like Google. I don't see many people complaining about Google's search engine, because it serves it's purpose, and does a good job at it.

Apple may have "asked" for money from Google as part of the agreement, to allow Google to be featured as the default web browser option on iOS and Apple products (Safari). It is a two way street, Google may have offered, or Apple may have asked...anyhow both parties agreed on a deal and it was done.

Capatalism is a laissez-faire type of affair...a true free market should not be thwarted by a non-capatalistic regulatory system.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HelveticaRoman Avatar
122 months ago
Yeah, how about a legal.macrumors.com subdomain or at least a separate blog for the legal stuff?

When was the last rumour involving a Mac even?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
tesla red orange bg feature

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Takes Shots at Apple During Earnings Call

Monday July 26, 2021 4:53 pm PDT by
During a Tesla earnings call that took place today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent time sniping at Apple, reports CNBC. Musk criticized Apple's "walled garden" and made comments on the company's cobalt use. In a discussion about plans to allow Tesla competitors to use the Tesla electric vehicle charger network, Musk said that Tesla does not want to create a walled garden to "bludgeon" Tesla...
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Gurman: Face ID on the Mac Coming Within a 'Couple of Years'

Sunday July 25, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
Apple plans to bring Face ID to the Mac within the next "couple of years," respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. In the newsletter, Gurman says that he believes Apple's ultimate goal is to shift all of its products to Face ID, including the lower-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE and the iPad Air, which feature Touch ID....