Whenever a Google search is conducted using Apple’s Safari browser, Google reportedly pays Apple 36 percent of the resulting ad revenue. The disclosure, originally confidential, was brought to light by Kevin Murphy, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, during his testimony on behalf of Alphabet at the ongoing Justice Department trial in Washington, as reported by Bloomberg.
This revelation adds transparency to the relationship between two major tech giants, Google and Apple, which has been under antitrust scrutiny in recent years. The Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that Google, leveraging its extensive resources, maintains market dominance by financially incentivizing companies like Apple to make Google the default search engine on Safari, given the widespread use of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. In 2021, Google reportedly paid Apple approximately $18 billion for this default search engine status, according to a New York Times report.
In response to objections raised by both Google and Apple last week, which aimed to keep the details of their arrangement private, Google argued that making additional details public could “unreasonably undermine Google’s competitive standing in relation to both competitors and other counterparties,” as stated in a court filing by Bloomberg.
While the specific ad revenue generated by Google through Safari is not disclosed, the 36 percent figure suggests a substantial amount, likely in the tens of billions of dollars. In 2022, Google’s total revenue amounted to $279.8 billion, with a significant portion attributed to advertising.