Court Docs Reveal Google Paid Apple A Staggering $20B In A Safari Search Deal

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Google is paying Apple a hefty sum in order to be the default search engine in iPhones, with Google coughing up a staggering $20 billion in 2022 alone for the privilege. This is according to documents recently unsealed ahead of closing arguments in the antitrust lawsuit the Justice Department is currently undertaking against Google. It’s a key piece of information as the Justice Department looks to establish that Google is a monopoly in online search and advertising.

Prior to the unsealing of these documents the only hint of how much Google spent on its agreement with Apple came from one of the witnesses in the case as the trial progressed during the Fall of last year. Bloomberg says that one of Google’s witnesses “accidentally disclosed that Google pays 36% of the revenue it earns from search ads to Apple.” Meanwhile, Apple executives would only give a vague response of “billions” without revealing the exact number.

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It’s a significant chunk of revenue for Apple, with Bloomberg reporting that “in 2020, Google’s payments to Apple constituted 17.5% of the iPhone maker’s operating income.” It’s such an important partnership that Apple wasn’t even swayed by Microsoft offering to share 90% of the advertising revenue to become the new search default included in Safari, according to the documents. Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said during testimony that the company was willing to jump through several hoops to get a deal done, including hiding away Bing branding.

It's eye opening to see just how much money Apple is raking in from this deal with Google, though it makes sense since the iPhone is one of the most used smartphones in the United States. That Google is willing to pony up this much cash shows how much the company thinks it’s worth, and seeing Microsoft so eager to take that spot reinforces how important it is. A decision in the case is expected later this year.