Antitrust Lawsuit Threatens Apple's Lucrative Deal with Google

Apple's deal with Google that makes it the default engine on Safari faces uncertainty as the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit looms, The Information reports.

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Apple's contract with Google, which ensures that Google's search engine is the default on Apple's Safari browser, has been a significant source of revenue. In 2022, the arrangement reportedly netted Apple over $20 billion, an amount derived from 36 percent of the ad revenue generated by searches on Safari, as revealed in court documents.

The agreement has substantial financial implications for both companies. For Apple, the payments from Google constitute an important revenue stream as a significant proportion of its profits. If the court rules against Google, it could lose access to approximately 70 percent of iPhone searches. This would significantly impact Google's mobile search advertising revenue, which was a major contributor to its $207 billion in search ad revenue in 2023.

Google has been working to reduce its reliance on the deal. The company has been actively encouraging ‌iPhone‌ users to switch from Safari to its own apps, Google and Chrome. Google has invested heavily in enhancing its mobile apps with features such as the Lens image search function and the Discover feed, which surfaces personalized content. In 2022 and 2023, Google launched extensive TV and online advertising campaigns showcasing exclusive features available only on its apps. However, over the past five years, Google has only managed to increase the percentage of ‌iPhone‌ searches conducted through its apps from 25 percent to the low 30s.

Earlier this year, Google hired Robby Stein, a former Instagram and Yahoo executive, to spearhead efforts to increase the adoption of its apps among ‌iPhone‌ users. Stein's strategies include exploring the integration of generative AI to enhance the appeal of Google's mobile apps. The company now wants to double the number of Google searches performed outside Safari, even as the number accomplished in the Google and Chrome apps stalled last year.

The shift is particularly important to Google in an effort to mitigate the impact of the potential outcome of the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit. A ruling against Google would also set a precedent for how Apple's default settings and competitive practices are regulated.

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Top Rated Comments

dumastudetto Avatar
1 week ago

There are at least five search engine options built into Apple devices. So what if Google is the default? Does it require too much brain power or physical effort to go into settings and change it if one desires? If the device owner is too clueless to figure it out - or to even ask if it’s possible - then they deserve what they get.
Google pays all that money precisely because most people don't know or care to change it.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Biro Avatar
1 week ago
There are at least five search engine options built into Apple devices. So what if Google is the default? Does it require too much brain power or physical effort to go into settings and change it if one desires? If the device owner is too clueless to figure it out - or to even ask if it’s possible - then they deserve what they get.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
switz Avatar
1 week ago
I make a determined effort to avoid any contact with any Google product. From my on limited experience, the slimy company constantly tries to get any and all of my information.

And yes, it is so simple to choose a different search engine in both Safari and Firefox.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BC2009 Avatar
1 week ago
Honestly, Google has the best search engine hands down. I tried using Duck Duck Go for years for privacy reasons. I would fall back to Google.com when Duck Duck Go (Bing) would fail to produce good results. Eventually i just got tired of so frequently having to use Google.com instead of the Safari address bar for searching and switched back.

Competition is supposed to produce better products but somehow Google has managed to maintain the best search engine while holding a monopoly. I don’t see how giving lazy competitors like Bing a crutch is going to improve competition. Why would Microsoft invest more in Bing if they get a revenue increase by virtue of a ruling against Google?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ghostface147 Avatar
1 week ago
Altavista for the win!
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Biro Avatar
1 week ago

Google pays all that money precisely because most people don't know or care to change it.
If they don’t care then there’s no injury and no problem.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)