Google’s Apple deal in 2007 – In a recently revealed email, Google CEO Sundar Pichai voiced concerns about Google’s deal with Apple as far back as 2007. These concerns shed light on the ongoing antitrust case against Google.
Early Concerns About Google’s Apple Deal in 2007
In 2007, Sundar Pichai, who was overseeing Google’s Chrome browser at the time, expressed his worries about the lack of search engine choices on Apple’s Safari browser. He emailed Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, suggesting that Google should encourage Apple to offer alternative search engine options, rather than being the exclusive provider.
The Antitrust Case Against Google
These emails have become key evidence in the ongoing antitrust case against Google. The case alleges that Google has paid substantial amounts to Apple and other smartphone manufacturers to ensure that Google remains the default search engine on their devices. This arrangement, it is argued, hinders competition by preventing rival search engines from gaining users.
The Money Behind the Deal
The Justice Department claims that Google pays over $10 billion annually to maintain its position as the default search engine. Google, however, argues that consumers can easily switch to other search engines if they prefer.
Inside the Apple-Google Deal
Joan Braddi, Google’s vice president for product partnerships, confirmed during the trial that the revenue-sharing agreement with Apple had no limitations on how Apple could use the payments. This partnership began in 2002 and later expanded to cover the iPhone and iPad.
In 2014, an amendment to the agreement allowed Apple to use other search engines in specific regions, but Google remained the primary choice in most areas. The negotiation for this amendment involved Google’s concerns about Apple possibly diverting searches to other companies in exchange for more revenue.
While the exact payment amount Google makes to Apple remains confidential, Braddi mentioned that Google has been monitoring Apple’s earnings to assess the impact of the revenue-sharing agreement on Apple’s operating income since 2018.
The CEO’s Early Warning
Sundar Pichai’s email from 2007 shows that he was worried about the exclusive partnership between Google and Apple. Google pays Apple billions to have Google search as the default option on Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Pichai’s concerns were centered on the user experience and the optics of Google being the sole provider in the browser.
The Government’s Argument
The Justice Department’s case against Google suggests that these exclusive agreements stifle competition in the search engine market. Google’s substantial payments to ensure default status on devices create barriers for other search engines to gain market share.
Google, on the other hand, maintains that customers choose its search engine because it offers the best product. They also downplay the importance of default status, arguing that customers can easily change their search engine with a few clicks.
Other Voices in the Trial
During the trial, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who operates the rival Bing search engine, argued that the notion of consumer choice in the online search market is “completely bogus” due to Google’s dominant market share. Google currently holds about 90% of the online search market, surpassing competitors like Bing and DuckDuckGo.
Search advertising generates substantial revenue for Google, with a reported $42.6 billion in quarterly earnings. This stands in contrast to competitors like Meta and Snap, which have seen a slowdown in their revenues.
The Long-standing Apple-Google Partnership
The partnership between Google and Apple has been in place since 2002, with renegotiations taking place periodically. The most recent deal was made in 2021.
The email from Google CEO Sundar Pichai in 2007 has come to light as evidence in the ongoing antitrust trial against Google. It reveals early concerns about Google’s exclusive partnership with Apple and the potential impact on competition in the search engine market. While the trial continues, it raises questions about the dynamics of tech giants and their influence on consumer choices.
Follow our Twitter Account for Daily Insights on Technology, AI and Web3
Don’t Forget more News at