Report: Google sharing Chrome iOS search revenue with Apple

Report: Google sharing Chrome iOS search revenue with Apple

UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is concerned about this previously undisclosed revenue sharing arrangement between Apple and Google.

Google pays Apple a share of revenue generated from Chrome search traffic, according to a new report from The Register.

Revenue share reveal. In a 356-page report, published June 10, 2022, there was a key redaction:

Google pays Apple a share of the search revenue it earns from browser traffic on iOS in the following contexts: in return for being the default search provider on Safari, Google pays Apple a share of revenue derived from Safari search traffic; and pursuant to various commercial arrangements, Google pays Apple a share of revenue derived from [redacted] search traffic.

– CMA, Mobile ecosystems, Market study final report

According to The Register, that redacted word is “Chrome.” And it was redacted from another section of the CMA’s report:

Under these agreements, Apple receives a significant share of revenue from Google Search traffic on Safari and [redacted] on iOS devices. Google’s estimated payments to Apple for search default status on Safari (£[1-1.5] billion total in 2021 for the UK) were substantially more than those made to its next largest partner, Samsung. This high level of payment is likely to reflect Apple’s strong positions in browsers (and other search access points) and browser engines (through the WebKit restriction).

Why we care. Almost every year, we’ve heard rumors about Apple finally unveiling its own search engine to compete with Google. Yet it has never happened. Could this be a – or the – reason why? Is Google essentially paying Apple not to become a search competitor and thus, both are maintaining their status quo?

Maintaining dominance? It’s impossible to deny Google and Apple have a mutually beneficial relationship. And there’s further theory to be found about how important that relationship is within this antitrust lawsuit, which alleges:

More than half (50%) of Google’s search business was conducted through use of Apple devices.

Because more than half of Google’s search business was conducted through Apple devices, Apple was a major potential threat to Google, and that threat was designated by Google as “Code Red.”

Google paid billions of dollars to Apple and agreed to share its profits with Apple to eliminate the threat and fear of Apple as a competitor.

Google viewed the aspect of Apple as a potential competitor to be “Code Red.”

If Apple became a competitor in the search business, Google would have lost half of its business.

What isn’t new. Google has paid Apple billions of dollars over the years to remain the default search option on Apple devices. What started as a $1 billion dollar deal has grown to be worth an estimated $15 billion annually (in 2021) to Apple.

We’ve covered the evolution of the Google-Apple search deal in prior years:

  • 2010: Google & Apple Extend Search Deal, Emerge As “Frenemies” Not “Froes”
  • 2013: Financial Analyst Affirms Google’s $1 Billion In “Default Search” Payments To Apple
  • 2016: Court Documents Show Google Paid Apple $1 Billion For Safari Default Placement
  • 2017: Analyst: Google’s default search deal worth $3 billion to frenemy Apple
  • 2018: Report: Google to pay Apple $9 billion to remain default search engine on Safari

Read the story. More details in What Brit watchdog redacted: Google gives Apple cut of Chrome iOS search revenue by Thomas Claburn.


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