Google is apparently paying Apple, by way of a revenue sharing agreement, a significant amount of money to remain the default search engine for the iPhone. The terms mean that in 2014, Apple received $1 billion from Google, according to a court transcript from the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit, in a report published by Bloomberg.
Speculation has always existed about how much the search agreement was worth to the two companies, but the amount has come as a surprise, after Apple chief executive Tim Cook attacked Google and Facebook in 2015 for “business models that undermine users’ privacy. “While the exact revenue split was not disclosed, Annette Hurst, Oracle’s attorney who disclosed this information, said at one point the figure was 34-percent, although it wasn’t made clear which company received that number.
Neither Google nor Apple wanted this information to become public, and lawyers for the former requested the figure be sealed, calling it “highly sensitive,” and saying it may affect both company’s ability to negotiate in the future. The request from Google was denied, but Bloomberg states the transcript has since (mysteriously) been removed from electronic court records.
While Google’s search bar may remain in iOS, it doesn’t have complete hold over iOS. In 2013, Apple made Bing the default search engine for Siri, the virtual personal assistant introduced with iOS 5. Although there are ways to change Bing (and Google, for that matter) for other search engines, the vast majority of users will stay with the standard option. It’s also a safe assumption a similar revenue sharing deal is in place between Microsoft and Apple.
The revenue share agreement has become public knowledge via an ongoing lawsuit between Oracle and Google, in which Oracle alleges Google used Java software to develop the Android mobile OS without paying for it. The case has been going on since 2010, and the enterprise software giant is seeking $1 billion in damages.