Google Paid Apple $1 Billion in 2014 to Remain Default iOS Search Engine


According to a court document, Google paid Apple a billion dollars in 2014 to be to make Google the default search engine on the iPhone and iPad.

Rumours about how much Apple charges Google to allow its rival’s search engine have been circulating for years, but $1 billion figure is still above many people’s expectations. The figure was observed in a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle’s lawsuit against Google, reports Bloomberg. To be noted is that this is not the first time the $1 billion figure has been quoted for Apple and Google’s 2014 search deal.

The two companies have an agreement under which Apple gets a cut on the revenue Google makes through the Apple devices. The exact terms of the agreement aren’t known, however, according to a Google witness, Apple at one time charged 34 percent of the revenue share. The transcript was soon after removed from electronic court records, following a filing by both Google and Apple to seal and redact the transcript as it contained ‘highly confidential’ information.

An Oracle attorney had revealed that Google, a subsidiary of corporate parent Alphabet, paid a billion dollars in the year 2014 alone to secure its position as the default search engine on iPhones, Bloomberg reported.

Google lawyers argued that Oracle “improperly disclosed highly sensitive, confidential information” regarding revenues and profits related to its Android mobile operating software, a copy of the motion showed.

The court proceedings also revealed that Google generated revenue of about $31 billion and profit of $22 billion since the release of Android. The operating system was first made available as a commercial product in 2008 and is made available free to mobile device makers. The software now powers more than 80 per cent of smartphones sold worldwide.

The figures were made public briefly during a long-running legal fight over whether copyright-protected elements of Java code made by Oracle were used in Android without permission.

Oracle has been after Google since 2010, claiming that Android uses Java’s API without its permission. In 2012, a judge found that Google did not infringe on Oracle’s patents. The decision was, however, reversed in 2014 in Oracle’s favor. Google has never denied of utilising Java APIs in Android, though it insists that APIs cannot be copyrighted. In the meanwhile, Google has announced that it will soon ditch the controversial Java API to use OpenJDK, which while still is made by Oracle, is open source.

While Apple is not a party in the case, Oracle lawyers argued that the impressive sum of money Google takes in from Android must be factored in by the court.

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