Google CEO Proposed Preinstalled Search App on iPhones
Google CEO Sundar Pichai disclosed a 2018 proposal to Apple CEO Tim Cook for preinstalling a Google Search app on all iOS devices.
The proposal, revealed by Pichai’s testimony in today’s U.S v. Google antitrust trial, aimed to deepen the partnership between the two tech giants and potentially increase revenue for both companies.
However, Apple, known for not preloading third-party software on its devices, declined the offer, reports The Verge. But at one point, Apple did pre-install Google Maps and YouTube on iPhones before dumping them in 2012.
During the trial, Pichai testified that the idea was rooted in the success of Google’s app and widget on Android devices, which led to increased search activity. He argued that a similar app on Apple devices would not only benefit Google but also generate more revenue for Apple under their existing search agreement. Pichai even offered a 20-year commitment to maintain the built-in Google service.
The Department of Justice’s antitrust case against Google alleges that the company struck anticompetitive deals for prime placement of its search engine. Google, however, contends that its market dominance is due to a superior product. The trial is considered the most significant tech antitrust case since the U.S. government’s action against Microsoft in the 1990s.
Apple’s Eddy Cue, in his testimony, stated that Apple would likely never preload third-party software on its devices. Despite this, the scope and financial implications of the existing deal between Google and Apple led Pichai to believe the proposal was worth exploring.
The testimony also revealed that Apple had expressed concerns about a decline in revenue growth from their revenue-sharing deal with Google. Pichai said that he and Cook met annually to discuss the state of their agreement, which makes Google the default search engine on Apple products and brings in billions of dollars for Apple each year.