Google Paid Apple $1 Billion For Default Search Engine Status In iOS

There's a good reason why Google is the default search engine in Safari on iOS, Apple's mobile operating system. It's all about the Benjamins, which collectively totaled $1 billion in 2014, the amount Google paid Apple as part of a revenue sharing agreement to keep its search engine as the default on iPhones and iPads. To put that into perspective. Dr. Evil initially wanted to hold the world ransom for $1 million before upping the ante to $100 billion.

The fact that Google pays big time bucks to hardware and software partners to feature its search engine as the default option has long been known. But until now, it was never confirmed how much Apple gained from its relationship with Google. That information was revealed by way of court transcript involving Oracle's copyright claim against Google.


During the hearing on January 14, Oracle attorney Annette Hearst disclosed the massive sum and quoted a witness questioned during pretrial as saying, "at one point in time the revenue share was 34 percent." Hearst didn't clarify if the 34 percent revenue share is the amount Google keeps or pays to Apple, but whatever the case, it worked out to $1 billion in payments to Apple through 2014.

Google and Apple weren't happy that financial details of their agreement were included in the transcript and both sought to have it stricken from record.

"The specific financial terms of Google's agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple," Google stated in a January 20 filing. "Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential."

According to Bloomberg, which read the transcript and first reported on the agreement, it's since disappeared from electronic court records.

Google's relationship with companies like Apple are lucrative for both parties, hence the handsome sum. Mozilla also benefited nicely from featuring Google as the default search in Firefox; at the end of 2010, Mozilla disclosed that 84 percent of its $123 million in revenue came from the Mountain View firm. When the deal was later renewed, it was reported to be nearly three times as much, which would have netted Mozilla around $1 billion at the end of its three-year agreement. Despite the lucrative arrangement, Mozilla ended up switching to Yahoo in late 2014.