Apple Defends Google Search Deal in Antitrust Trial
Apple SVP Eddy Cue recently took the stand as a witness in US v. Google, the landmark antitrust trial over Google’s search business, defending Google as the default search engine on all Apple devices.
According to The Verge, Cue lightened the courtroom with a humorous comment about screen resolution, receiving a playful quip from Judge Amit Mehta in return. However, the gravity of the trial soon refocused everyone’s attention.
At the heart of the matter is the ISA, a deal dating back to 2002 but renegotiated in 2016 by Cue himself and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
During his testimony, Cue disclosed that Apple sought a larger share of Google’s revenue from Apple users. While specific numbers were kept confidential, the compromise reached has resulted in Google paying Apple substantial sums annually.
The pivotal question in the courtroom was whether Apple’s selection of Google as its default search engine was based on economic gains or superior product quality.
Cue maintained that Google was chosen because it offered the best search experience, emphasizing Apple’s commitment to user satisfaction.
Meagan Bellshaw, representing the Justice Department, delved into the iPhone setup process, highlighting that Apple provides users with choices in various aspects, including search engines.
Cue contended that offering multiple search engines during setup would confuse users and impair the user experience.
The matter of user privacy also surfaced during Bellshaw’s questioning. Cue affirmed Apple’s commitment to user privacy, citing measures taken to enhance it, such as not requiring users to log in for searches and limiting tracking.
The DOJ’s argument seemed to revolve around Google being a privacy concern while being central to Apple’s platform due to lucrative payments.
Bellshaw questioned whether the ISA represented a significant portion of Apple’s profits. Cue countered by emphasizing the effort invested in making the platform attractive for such agreements to work effectively.
Following a closed session and a break, Google’s attorney, John Schmidtlein, presented a history of the Google-Apple partnership and Safari browser integration.
Cue, meanwhile, credited Google’s seamless integration as a key factor in Safari’s success.