Google reportedly paid Apple $20 billion to be the default search option in Safari

Apple was reportedly been paid $20 billion to to ensure that Google is the default search option in the Safari web browser in 2022.

1 minute & 43 seconds read time

If you're a user of the Safari web browser from Apple and use Google when searching for websites and other information, you aren't alone. Google is the default option, although it can be changed, so it stands to reason that it's probably the search engine that many users are already making use of without even thinking about it. And that, it seems, is something that's worth a cool $20 billion.

That's how much Google paid Apple in 2022 in order to make sure that it remained the default web browser in Safari. The news came out as part of the release of antitrust court documentation that both Google and Apple had sought to keep out of the public eye. Instead, Bloomberg reports, the figures were made available as part of the Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against Google. It's alleged that Google holds a monopolistic position in the world of online search and advertising, although Google argues otherwise.

Google reportedly paid Apple $20 billion to be the default search option in Safari 02

This trial began last fall with Apple execs confirming that Google paid it billions of dollars to remain the default option. However, nobody confirmed just how many billions were involved - although Google did say that it paid Apple 36% of the revenue it earns from search ads. That should perhaps have given us an indication of the kinds of figures that were changing hands.

We also learned just how important Google's money is to Apple's bottom line as part of the trial, too. As just one example, in 2020, Google's payments to Apple made up a whopping 17.5% of the iPhone maker's operating income.

It wasn't always this way, however. Google was the default Safari search engine back in 2002 but it didn't pay Apple a thing. That changes however, and by May 2021 Google was paying Apple more than $1 billion each month to maintain the default status across Apple's platforms.

Microsoft, the company behind the Bing search engine, had previously said that Apple holds outsized control over the market. Essentially, whichever company was the default search engine on the iPhone would be the dominant force, it was argued, and it's believed that Microsoft did want to make Bing the default option instead. However, no deal was struck and Google remains the default option. However, it's important to remember that users can chang the default search engine within Safari should they so wish, although it's a matter of debate as to how many know that's possible - and how many know that Google isn't the only option regardless.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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