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Court testimony reveals how much Google paid Apple to be Safari’s default search engine

by Contributor

Thanks to the U.S. vs. Google antitrust suit, we’re finally getting more accurate information on how much the Alphabet subsidiary spends to guarantee that its search engine is the default one on various handsets, and browsers. Testimony elicited during the trial revealed that in 2021, the company spent a whopping $26.3 billion for that “privilege.” Since we know that Alphabet is not in the business of giving away money, we have to assume that spending this cash brought in a higher amount of advertising revenue.
As discussed by The Verge, the figure came out in the courtroom during the DOJ’s cross-examination of Google search chief Prabhakar Raghavan. The figure was released to the public after talks between the two sides and Judge Amit Mehta were held to discuss whether that number should be redacted to keep it from the public. The judge reportedly has been looking to keep the public informed about certain information that has been revealed during the trial.
Alphabet recently reported its third-quarter earnings and for the three months that ended the last day in September, Google Search generated over $44 billion in ad revenue. Over the last year, Search revenue was more than $165 billion. It’s obvious that Google is making a wise investment by paying manufacturers billions and billions to become the default search engine on their devices, websites, and apps.
So far we haven’t answered the one question that you came here for. How much does Google pay Apple every year to be the default search engine in Safari? The New York Times  recently reported that Google paid Apple $18 billion in 2021. Other large payments are made to Samsung to be the default search engine on Galaxy devices, to Mozilla so it can be the default search engine on the Firefox browser, and to other device makers, wireless providers, and platforms.

As you might expect a defendant in an antitrust trial to do, Google’s head of search Raghavan played up the competition as he testified that Yelp and Amazon should be considered competitors. He said that Google is also losing search users to TikTok and ChatGPT and that some users call Google Search “Grandpa Google.” We’d say that Grandpa is acting spry for his age. Raghavan says that with all of the competition that Google faces in search, it needs to do what it can to remain competitive.

Judge Mehta will be making his ruling after Google is finished telling its side of the story. If he rules against Google, the company could be forced to break up into smaller firms.

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