Google Paid Apple $1 Billion in 2014 to be Default iOS Search Engine
It's common knowledge that Apple and Google have a monetary agreement that ensures Google's position as the default search engine on Apple's iOS devices, but the details of that deal have been kept under wraps, until now. A recent court transcript from Oracle's copyright lawsuit against Google was obtained by Bloomberg and sheds some light on the agreement, suggesting Google pays out a lot of money to keep its search bar on Apple's iPhones and iPads.
Apple receives a percentage of the revenue that Google earns from searches made on iOS devices, and in 2014, Apple's payout from Google totaled $1 billion. That information mirrors a similar rumor from 2012 that also suggested Google was paying Apple upwards of $1 billion.
The current cut Apple receives from the advertising revenue Google collects isn't known, but according to a Google witness questioned during the Oracle-Google lawsuit, the revenue share was at 34 percent "at one point in time." According to Bloomberg, it was not made clear in the transcript if 34 percent is the amount Apple received or the amount Google got to keep.
An attorney for Google objected to the information being disclosed and attempted to have the judge strike the mention of 34 percent from the record.
"That percentage just stated, that should be sealed," lawyer Robert Van Nest said, according to the transcript. "We are talking hypotheticals here. That's not a publicly known number."
Both Google and Apple attempted to have the court records blocked from public review because the information is "extremely confidential," but a judge denied the request. Google went on to ask the court to seal the transcript because the release of the information could affect its negotiations with other companies. The company's request was presumably granted, as Bloomberg says the transcript is no longer available.
Apple and Google's search contract was reportedly set to end in 2015, sparking speculation that Apple could terminate the agreement in favor of working with Microsoft or Yahoo. Yahoo and Microsoft were both interested in inking a deal with Apple to overthrow Google as the default search engine on iOS devices, but as no shift to another search engine has been made, it appears Google and Apple may have established a renewed agreement.
In a May 2015 interview, Google's chief business officer Omid Kordestani said Google wanted to continue its partnership with Apple. "We'd love to continue our partnership with them and doing our best to work with them, and that's all I can say for now," he said.