Google paid Apple $20 billion to be Safari’s default search engine

Google put an eleven-figure price tag on being the preferred search tool in Apple’s Safari browser.

Court documents from the US Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Google reveal that parent company Alphabet paid the iPhone maker $20 billion in 2022 to be its default search engine, Bloomberg reports. The disclosure, made by Apple senior vice president of services Eddy Cue, was the first confirmation of the exact dollar figure paid by Google to maintain its search engine dominance in the browser. The New York Times had previously reported that Google paid Apple about $18 billion in 2021 to keep the Google search engine as the default option on iPhones.

Antitrust and adaptation

Google’s relationship with Apple, which is at the center of the lawsuit, has proven to be particularly profound. The filings also reveal that in 2020, Google’s payments to Apple accounted for 17.5% of the company’s operating income, no small portion of Apple’s cash flow.

The Department of Justice and several US states. filed his claim against Google in 2020, accusing the tech giant of building an illegal monopoly in the search engine and advertising markets, primarily through multimillion-dollar deals paid to browser companies such as Apple and others. Google has maintained that people use its search engine because it is a useful product.

After three years, the trial began in September and final arguments are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

The revealed documents also show that Apple was making several potentially lucrative proposals for its coveted default browser space: Microsoft offered Apple 90% of its advertising revenue in 2020 to make its search engine, Bing, Safari’s default, Bloomberg reported.

Google had a search engine market share of almost 92% in February, according to oberlo data. Its share has not fallen below 90% since 2014 and it has been the top search engine for the better part of two decades.

But Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president at Google who oversees search, ads, commerce, payments and other key areas, warned employees last week that times have changed for the search giant. The company, he added, needs to “contract faster” to adapt to the new market.