Google’s Share of Safari Search Ad Revenue Revealed

If you’ve ever wondered how much Google pays Apple to be the default search engine in Safari, the figures are in. While the search giant has fought for years to keep the exact numbers mum, one witness in the ongoing Google antitrust trial has spilled the beans.

Courtroom Testimony Reveals Figures Google Wishes It Didn’t

It turns out that Google’s been slipping Apple a pretty hefty allowance for being the cool kid who lets everyone use Google on Safari. The internet conglomerate likes being the go-to search engine on browsers like Safari and Firefox so much that in 2021, it shelled out a jaw-dropping $26.3 billion for this VIP status.

Apple, being the savvy business it is, pocketed a cool $18 billion of that. Apple’s Eddy Cue, not one to shy away from a tough bargain, admitted the tech giant wanted an even bigger slice of Google’s Safari revenue pie.

But, in the end, the two companies agreed on a figure that’s been hush-hush for years. The juicy details were usually shared in top-secret sessions, far from prying ears.

All of that changed during testimony from University of Chicago professor Kevin Murphy. Murphy was testifying in Google’s defense, but he let loose the revelation that Google pays Apple 36% of all search ad revenue coming in from Safari browsers.

Google’s lawyer, John Schmidtlein, had a facepalm moment when the number got out. According to Bloomberg, Schmidtlein “visibly cringed when Murphy said the number.”

The History Behind the Deal and How Current Events Bring It to Light

Murphy is the main economics expert for Google, and both the Alphabet, Inc. unit and Apple have hoped the details would remain secret. Last week, Google even went to court to keep the lid on the details, arguing that if the world knew more about its agreement with Apple, it would be like giving its playbook to the competition and other business buddies.

This deal has been in place since 2002, making Google the head honcho of search on Apple’s Safari. Fast forward to today, and this agreement is the star player of Google’s lineup, especially since it means Google gets to be the default search engine on the iPhone, even without installing its Chrome browser. Since the iPhone is arguably America’s most loved smartphone, that’s kind of a big deal.

Now, here’s where the plot thickens: the Justice Department is eyeing this BFF agreement like a hawk, suggesting it’s Google’s sneaky way of keeping a stranglehold on the search engine and search ad markets. A total of 50 U.S. attorneys general are waving the “no fair play” flag, hinting that Google’s dominance might not be all above board.

The Justice Department, backed by the 50 attorneys general, pointed fingers at Google in 2019, accusing it of hogging the search engine playground. The trial, which kicked off on Sept. 12, is turning out to be quite the spectacle. It’s turning out to be the tech world’s version of a daytime soap opera!

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