Google would pay Apple not to compete in search

Google would pay Apple not to compete in search. A British regulator appears to have discovered that Google would pay Apple part of the advertising revenue from search results, to discourage its longtime rival from launching a competing system.

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Rumors have been circulating for some time that Apple is working on its own search engine, so as to rival Google. However, according to the latest revelations, the Cupertino multinational may not have an interest in doing so. According to The Register, Google would also pay Apple a portion of the revenue it gets from searches users make through the Google Chrome app for iOS. Obviously, these would be payments that would go beyond the revenue that Google officially recognizes:

Apple receives a significant share of revenue from Google Search traffic on Safari and iOS devices

Parts of the report released by the British regulator are blacked out, and it’s not clear why it would not reveal what it allegedly discovered during its investigation. In some sections, however, the concerns of this system are clear. In summary, these revenue-sharing agreements hurt cross-browser competition on iOS.

Whatever the revenue sharing, the Justice Department and the Competition and Markets Authority argue that these payments from Google would serve to keep Apple away from creating a proprietary search engine. The deal was first brought to light in an antitrust lawsuit filed on Dec. 27, 2021 in San Francisco. In a later-edited PDF from March 2022 related to the lawsuit, the complaint alleges that Apple was paid by Google not to create an alternative, competing engine.

It does not specify how much Apple would earn, but the document states that the amount paid by Google is equal to the profits that Apple would have earned if it had launched Google’s search engine and competitor, minus the costs and risks to actually create it.

However, although many rumors have spoken of an Apple search engine, the functioning of this hypothetical platform has never been clarified in detail. It remains to be seen, in fact, whether it would be an enhancement of the Siri engine or whether Apple really intends to launch a direct competitor to Google.

In the latter case, of course, it would mean giving up a good chunk of its revenue, as Google pays tens of billions of dollars to keep its as the default on Safari: it is known that just to keep it there through 2021, for example, disbursed 15 billion dollars.

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