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Google paid Apple $1 billion to keep Google Search on iOS by default

Worth it?


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Jan 22, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 8:09 am CDT

How much is it worth to Google to be the primary search function on iOS devices? About $1 billion. According to Bloomberg, that’s how much Google shelled out to Apple to ensure it remained the go-to for search results.

The figure, which accounts for what Google paid in 2014 to remain a prominent part of iOS, comes from a court transcript from an ongoing case between the search giant and Oracle

The transcript detailed the agreement further, including an account from a Google witness in the case who disclosed that the companies split the revenue share from iOS searches. The witness claimed the revenue share was 34 percent, but did not specify if that was the amount given to Apple or the amount Google retained (though the former seems more likely). 

Prior to the disclosure in court, the figures of the arrangement between Apple and Google were never made public. An attorney for Google objected to the information in court and requested it be wiped from the record, but the judge refused. Google also asked for the record to be sealed and the transcript redacted—an ask that was also denied, despite Apple filing a separate request.

Google products like Maps were given the boot by Apple in 2012 when the company decided to create its own products to integrate deeper into iOS. Google search has remained, likely due in part to its ubiquitous nature as well as the $1 billion payout. In previous reports from Morgan Stanley and Macquarie in 2012 and 2013, analysts pinned the same $1 billion figure unveiled in court.

The cost for the billboard in iOS is a drop in the bucket for Google, though—especially given the other information revealed by Oracle in the court proceedings. According to a lawyer from Oracle, Google generates $31 billion in revenue from its Android operating system—and $22 billion in profit. 

Paying a fraction of that income to keep iOS users in Google’s web ecosystem is likely worth the cost.

H/T Bloomberg | Photo via Integrated Change/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 22, 2016, 2:47 pm CST