Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to Stay Default Search Bar Provider on iOS

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Bloomberg reports that Google paid Apple $1 billion to retain its position as the default search bar provider on iOS, according to court documents.

This information was revealed through a court transcript from Oracle’s copyright lawsuit against Google. The deal between Apple and Google took place in 2014, at which time an agreement was also made that Apple would get a cut of the revenue Google generates on iOS devices.

According to a witness questioned during the court proceedings, “at one point in time” the revenue share between Google and Apple was 34%. One of Google’s attorneys reportedly tried to keep that information under wraps by asking to have it stricken from the court records. That request was denied by the judge presiding over the trial.

These details put to bed the rumors of exactly how much Google paid to ensure iOS device owners keep using Google’s search engine by default. In addition, it discloses that Apple continues to receive money from Google in the form of revenue sharing.

Google and Apple have since filed separate requests to seal and redact the transcript, which contains information said to be highly confidential. In Google’s filing the company reportedly stated:

“The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple. Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential.”

Google’s argument is that having this information made public negatively impacts its ability to negotiate a similar agreement with another company.

Oracle’s lawsuit against Google stems from claims made in 2010 that the Android operating system was developed using Java without Google paying to use the software.

Google fought to put a stop to the case, making it all the way up to the US Supreme Court before having the request denied. Now the case is being tried in San Francisco and is still ongoing. Neither Google or Apple have officially comments on details emanating from the lawsuit thus far.

Featured Image Credit: Beauty Prof / Shutterstock.com

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • https://www.getfoundfast.com/ kenny marks

    It will be interesting to see if anyone can out maneuver Google in this. They hold so much digital real estate but others are catching up!

  • Subbareddy

    Google Inc. is paying Apple Inc. a hefty fee to keep its search bar on the iPhone.

    Apple received $1 billion from its rival in 2014, according to a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle Corp.’s copyright lawsuit against Google. The search engine giant has an agreement with Apple that gives the iPhone maker a percentage of the revenue Google generates through the Apple device, an attorney for Oracle said at a Jan. 14 hearing in federal court.

    Rumors about how much Google pays Apple to be on the iPhone have circulated for years, but the companies have never publicly disclosed it. Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, and Google spokesman Aaron Stein both declined to comment on the information disclosed in court.

    The revenue-sharing agreement reveals the lengths Google must go to keep people using its search tool on mobile devices. It also shows how Apple benefits financially from Google’s advertising-based business model that Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has criticized as an intrusion of privacy.

    Oracle has been fighting Google since 2010 over claims that the search engine company used its Java software without paying for it to develop Android. The showdown has returned to U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco after a pit stop at the U.S. Supreme Court, where Google lost a bid to derail the case. The damages Oracle now seeks may exceed $1 billion since it expanded its claims to cover newer Android versions.

    34 Percent

    Annette Hurst, the Oracle attorney who disclosed details of the Google-Apple agreement at last week’s court hearing, said a Google witness questioned during pretrial information said that “at one point in time the revenue share was 34 percent.” It wasn’t clear from the transcript whether that percentage is the amount of revenue kept by Google or paid to Apple.

    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.”

    The magistrate judge presiding over the hearing later refused Google’s request to block the sensitive information in the transcript from public review. Google then asked Alsup to seal and redact the transcript, saying the disclosure could severely affect its ability to negotiate similar agreements with other companies. Apple joined Google’s request in a separate filing.

    ‘Highly Sensitive’

    “The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple,” Google said in its Jan. 20 filing. “Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential.”

    The transcript vanished without a trace from electronic court records at about 3 p.m. Pacific standard time with no indication that the court ruled on Google’s request to seal it.