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  • Voltaire Staff

Google pays Apple 36% of Safari-driven search revenue, says trial witness

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Google pays as much as 36 per cent of its Safari-driven search revenue to Apple under a deal struck between the two firms, an Alphabet expert witness testifying in an anti-trust lawsuit against Google in Washington DC has revealed.

Kevin Murphy, an economist at University of Chicago, testifying during the trial on Monday on behalf of Google's parent firm Alphabet, did not reveal the exact figure. Reportedly, the academic blurted out the percentage by accident.

According to CNBC, Google CEO Sunder Pichai on Tuesday confirmed the figure on Tuesday appearing in a court in Virginia in another trial involving Fortnite owner Epic Games.

"That's correct," responded Pichai, when Epic Games lawyer asked him whether the revelation made in the Washington DC lawsuit was correct.

When asked about the exact figure Google pays to Apple under the deal, Pichai responded it was over $10 billion. Some analysts have pegged the figure to be around $27 billion, having factored in share of Safari-driven searches.

The figure betrays the near monopolistic sway Google search has over its other rivals, including Bing by Microsoft, which is known to have tried hard in the past to have a similar placement deal on Apple's iPhone, but in vain.

Google is locked in an anti-trust trial in the US capital initiated by the Department of Justice over its alleged anti-competitive trade practices.


Back in April this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had accused the search engine giant of hoarding the search engine space to such an extent that there was no space for start-ups to compete with it. He said Microsoft in its bid to break into the search engine market has spent more money the Google, but little to show for it.

Appearing in court during a Google trial hearing, Nadella termed the search engine market a "no-fly zone" and "the hardest market to crack."

“You get up in the morning, you brush your teeth, and you search on Google," Nadella had said, according to Ars Technica. "With that level of habit forming, the only way to change is by changing defaults."

"The distribution advantage Google has today doesn’t go away... In fact, if anything, I worry a lot that—even in spite of my enthusiasm that there is a new angle with AI—this vicious cycle that I’m trapped in could even become even more vicious because the defaults get reinforced," Nadella had said, apparently arguing against such deals as now in play between Google and Apple.


The iPhone-maker had at one point considered partnering with DuckDuckGo, a search engine with strong data privacy claims, an Apple executive revealed during a hearing in the same trial in October.  

The Apple exec met 20 times with the company threshing out the details of the deal, before it fell through.

The information surfaced as the US District Justice Amit Mehta, who is presiding over the US' anti-trust trial against Google, made public the transcripts of depositions of Apple SVP of machine learning and AI strategy John Giannandrea and DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg.



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