Google pays Apple $8 billion to $12 billion per year to be default search on iPhones, iPads, and Macs

Last Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a landmark lawsuit against Google — the U.S. government’s biggest antitrust case in two decades — and homed in on the Google’s annual multi-billion dollar payment to Apple to be default search on iPhones, iPads, and Macs as a prime example of what prosecutors say are the company’s illegal tactics to protect its monopoly and kill off competition in web search.

Google breakup. Image: Google logo

Daisuke Wakabayashi and Jack Nicas for The New York Times:

The scrutiny of the pact, which was first inked 15 years ago and has rarely been discussed by either company, has highlighted the special relationship between Silicon Valley’s two most valuable companies — an unlikely union of rivals that regulators say is unfairly preventing smaller companies from flourishing…

Nearly half of Google’s search traffic now comes from Apple devices, according to the Justice Department, and the prospect of losing the Apple deal has been described as a “code red” scenario inside the company. When iPhone users search on Google, they see the search ads that drive Google’s business. They can also find their way to other Google products, like YouTube. A former Google executive, who asked not to be identified because he was not permitted to talk about the deal, said the prospect of losing Apple’s traffic was “terrifying” to the company.

Apple now receives an estimated $8 billion to $12 billion in annual payments — up from $1 billion a year in 2014 — in exchange for building Google’s search engine into its products. It is probably the single biggest payment that Google makes to anyone and accounts for 14 to 21 percent of Apple’s annual profits. That’s not money Apple would be eager to walk away from.

A forced breakup could mean the loss of easy money to Apple. But it would be a more significant threat to Google, which would have no obvious way to replace the lost traffic. It could also push Apple to acquire or build its own search engine. Within Google, people believe that Apple is one of the few companies in the world that could offer a formidable alternative, according to one former executive.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple did it with Maps, they could do it with search (and likely start out better than they started in Maps, which wouldn’t be difficult).

As we wrote over six years ago, referring to Steve Jobs’ vow to go nuclear on Google over the stolen product of Android, about the idea that Apple should buy DuckDuckGo:

“If you really want to wage thermonuclear war, wage thermonuclear war.”

Plus, [DuckDuckGo] has a stupid name that just begs to be changed to “Apple Search.” It’s perfect for Apple!MacDailyNews, June 19, 2015

If you haven’t already, give DuckDuckGo a try today!

Apple allows users to easily switch to the privacy-respecting DuckDuckGo search engine in Safari:

1. Click Safari in the top menu bar.
2. Select Preferences.
3. Click on Search.
4. Select DuckDuckGo.

1. Open Settings.
2. Navigate and tap on Safari.
3. Tap on Search Engine.
4. Select DuckDuckGo.


  1. It’s a little disconcerting that approx 20% of company’s revenue is wrought from “selling” its customer base. If the stock market drops 20%, it’s considered a major crash…just to give perspective.

    Combine this revenue to buybacks, where AAPL adds about 4% to earnings growth. This is close to one-quarter of the company’s value from non-product/service income. Sure, it’s sold as bringing more value to the share-holder, but in reality, it mainly serves to keep the company on positive ground with Wall Street, via EPS growth.

    The facts above prove that Cook’s Apple is most clearly Wall Street focused and he has no issue surviving and growing with annuity-type means. Share price is top-of-mind. Many here couldn’t care less about Apple’s change, as long as the stock is growing. I appreciate the very healthy share price increase, but I bemoan Cook’s transformation of the company. It’s still Apple, but he continues to “generify” it. The “rebel” mindset gets more scarce every year.

    Btw, Steve Jobs cared little for WS…in fact he had a bit of a f-them attitude.

  2. That cozy contract with the default placement should be cut out of iOS, that and other defaults (special treatment) for Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft should be gone, that should include the freebie apps killing the smaller developers allowing those companies to camp out in iOS isn’t helping Apple throw them overboard.

  3. Both DuckDuckGo and GIMP sound amateur, awkward, and even repellant, especially the latter, as if belonging to the days of home brew clubs I read about. Perhaps the former wants to appeal to cuteness. And they are less capable, in my experience, than alternatives.

  4. It’s kind of easy to an “Y” to one of them and, your association with awkward is more than intuitive.

    It has “free” going for it, but I’ve heard it’s not the smoothest function piece of software.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.