Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to Remain Default Search on iPhone

It’s always been a mystery of how much Google is paying Apple to remain the default search in Safari on iOS—until now.

Transcripts from court proceedings in Oracle’s copyright lawsuit against Google has revealed the dollar amount–as $1 billion paid in 2014–reports Bloomberg. But not only that, Apple also gets a cut of search revenue too:

The search engine giant has an agreement with Apple that gives the iPhone maker a percentage of the revenue Google generates through the Apple device, an attorney for Oracle said at a Jan. 14 hearing in federal court.

Oracle lawyer, Annette Hurst, disclosed details of the Google-Apple dollar amount last week at a court hearing. One Google witness questioned during pretrial admitted “at one point in time the revenue share was 34 percent.” It’s unclear whether this was the amount Apple received, or Google kept.

Transcripts reveal Google lawyer Robert Van Nest immediately responded “That percentage just stated, that should be sealed,” adding “We are talking hypotheticals here. That’s not a publicly known number.”

Both Google and Apple asked separately to redact the number from transcripts and public review, stating the leaked information could hamper future negotiation efforts with other companies.

Google’s January 20 filing stated “The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple,” while also adding “Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential.”

Oracle has been battling Google since 2010, alleging the search engine giant used its Java software to develop Android—without paying for it. Oracle has since expanded its claim to cover newer Android devices, meaning its damages sought could exceed $1 billion.

Last February, one analyst predicted Google’s gross search revenue from iOS devices for 2015 would be around $8.8 billion.

As far back as 2010, other search rivals such as Microsoft’s Bing were rumoured to be vying for the default search engine spot on iOS, while in 2014, Yahoo was also pegged to be in the running to replace Google on iOS and OS X.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Was the $1 billion dollars a one-time payment to be default search engine forever? Yearly? Some other period of time?