U.S. Justice Dept.: Google paid handset makers for search dominance
The lawsuit says Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook met Google’s head, Sundar Pichai, in 2018 to come up with a deal under which, as a senior Apple employee later described, the two companies would “work as if we are one company.”
In this, and other similar paid deals elsewhere, says the lawsuit, Google made its search the default on iPhones and other Apple products. Afterwards, in 2019, nearly half Google’s search traffic came from Apple’s products.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) said Apple gets between $8 and $12 billion annually from the agreement. Google is the default search for Siri and Apple’s system search, replacing Microsoft which held that role until 2017.
Google afterwards said, in an internal document, that losing the arrangement with Apple would constitute a “Code Red” scenario for the Silicon Valley search engine.
It’s also claimed the tech giant has similar deals in place with Samsung and other manufacturers, stifling competition and robbing consumers of choice.
The result, according to the Justice Department, is that nearly 90% of all search and 95% of mobile searches in the US are done through Google. A recent congressional inquiry found Google accounts for 87% of searches on the internet.
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