Google is shelling out billions of dollars to Apple and other partners to maintain its dominance in the online search market, according to court documents disclosed at a federal antitrust case against the search giant.
The documents reveal that Google agreed to pay Apple a whopping 36% of the search revenue it generates from users who use the Safari browser on Apple devices, Bloomberg reported. The deal makes Google the default search engine on Apple devices, such as iPhones and iPads.
The documents also show that Google paid a total of $26.3 billion in 2021 to become the default search engine on multiple phones and browsers. It was estimated that $18 billion of that went to Apple.
The deal between Google and Apple is one of the main targets of the antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and several states. The lawsuit accuses Google of abusing its dominant position in the online search market and harming competition and consumers.
Google has denied the allegations and argued that its agreements with Apple and other partners are beneficial for users and fair for the industry.
However, the U.S. Department of Justice claims that Google’s payments to Apple and other partners create a “self-reinforcing cycle” that prevents rivals from gaining a foothold in the search market. The lawsuit also alleges that Google uses its search monopoly to favor its products and services over those of competitors.
Google is not only facing legal challenges from the U.S. Department of Justice but also from Epic Games, the maker of the popular video game Fortnite. Court documents revealed that Google paid Samsung $8 billion in four years to make its services the preferred choice on Samsung’s mobile devices.
Epic Games sued Google in August 2020 for allegedly violating antitrust laws by forcing app developers to use its payment system and taking a 30% cut of their revenue. Take note that Apple also takes a 30% commission on all in-app purchases made through the App Store. Epic Games also accused Google of blocking its attempts to distribute Fortnite outside of the Google Play Store.