The relationship between Google and Apple and how it changed over time is being pieced together in a trial that is getting a lot of attention.

We now know how much Google has been paying Apple and other device makers to keep its search engine as the default on a lot of products, like the iPhone.

Two people who knew about the deal told The New York Times that Google paid Apple about $18 billion to stay as Apple’s top search engine in 2021. That’s about the same as what Bernstein analysts said earlier in October. The deal was worth between $18 billion and $20 billion a year. Which is “14 to 16 percent of Apple’s operating profits.”

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Bloomberg claimed that the ongoing court case also showed on Friday that Google paid a huge $26.3 billion to device makers, including Apple, for deals to be the default search engine in 2021. Most of that money came from the deal with Apple. This shows how much Google is willing to pay to keep its search engine at the top of the page.

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Apple does have its own search tool, called Spotlight, that people with iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers can use. Apple has had Spotlight on their devices since 2005, so the idea isn’t new. But it could be seen as a threat to Google. People can use the tool to find out about news, the weather, and the meanings of words and sentences. People can get the same kind of results from other search engines.

A new report from The New York Times says that Google wanted to make sure it wouldn’t have to compete with Apple in the search market. This advantage has become much more valuable in the last ten years. Court records from a different case involving Oracle show that Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 to stay on iOS devices.

Insider asked Apple and Google for comments before the story came out, but neither company replied.

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The lawsuit against Google was first brought by the Department of Justice in 2020. They said that the search engine was a monopoly that made it harder for smaller businesses to compete.

The trial is still going on and is looking into Google’s ties to companies like Apple and makers of Android devices. The DOJ has said that Google purposely made it hard to switch iPhones and Android phones from Google to other search engines. A government witness said that it took 10 steps to change the default search engine on an Android 12 phone.

Still, Kent Walker, general counsel of Alphabet, the company that owns Google, said in a letter that people use Google because it is better than other search engines, not because they are forced to. Walker also said that individuals can change platforms if they desire to do so and that it is not that hard to do so.

Early in the case, Apple executive Eddy Cue also said that Google was chosen as the default search engine because it was “best” for iPhone users and “there wasn’t a valid alternative.”


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