Google’s antitrust lawsuit could end up its search deal with Apple

Apple and Google have a lucrative deal to keep Google as the default search engine of Safari’s web browser. However, this agreement might have to end as the Justice Department is holding an antitrust trial focused on the Mountain View company.

Previous reports revealed that Google pays Apple up to $20 billion a year to be the default iPhone search engine. So even though Apple is not on trial, if the DoJ states that Google is illegally maintaining its dominance over the search engine and search advertising markets, this could be bad news for Cupertino.

According to the latest report by The Information, Google is trying to be less reliant on Apple to protect itself from this possible revenue drop. Currently, Google pulls in an estimated $56 billion from Safari ad revenue on the iPhone, which is around a quarter of all its search revenues.

If the judge ruled in favor of the antitrust lawsuit, Google would lose access to approximately 70% of iPhone searches. To prevent this from happening, Google has been working to reduce its reliance on the deal with Apple.

For example, Mountain View encourages iPhone users to switch from Safari to Google and Chrome apps. The publication highlights some of the efforts to make users switch, such as the Lens image search feature and the Discover feed.

Still, it seems Google must wish the judge would not accept the antitrust case, as in five years, Google only managed to increase the percentage of iPhone searches through its own apps from 25% to around 30%.

Depending on the ruling against Google, this could also affect how Apple’s default settings and competitive practices are regulated. In the EU, for example, Apple needs to give users the ability to choose between several web browsers to decide which one is going to be their main one before they finish setting up the iPhone.

BGR will keep following up on this case and update you when we learn more.

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