The Wall Street Journal estimates that Google could pay Apple as much as $13 billion per year to be the default search engine on all Apple devices for the Safari web browser. That’s up from $1 billion paid to Apple by Google in 2014, which was revealed during a legal dispute with Oracle in a court filing. If the $14 billion is right, it amounts to about 25 percent of the overall revenue of Apple’s services.
In anticipation of filing an antitrust lawsuit against Google, which is officially owned by Alphabet, Inc., the DOJ is currently consulting with state attorneys general. The New York Times reports that the default search agreements that Google has with Apple and other businesses are a key target of a lawsuit by the Justice Department. These deals make it nearly impossible for rivals to ever make a dent in Google’s 92.1 percent market share of the US search engine.
Google has consistently said that the simple reason it is successful is that providing the best search results works hard. The WSJ article states that many individuals will still opt to use Google for search, validating Google’s claim, even though Google was barred from default search deals.
That point was advanced by a recent article by Google:
Products like Search, Gmail, and Maps help Americans every day. Survey research found that these services provide thousands of dollars a year in value to the average American. We provide these tools to everyone for free. Our products increase choice and expand competition. They level the playing field for small businesses everywhere—enabling them to sell their products, find customers, reduce their costs and, in difficult times, get back on their feet.Source: Google blog
Our goods improve selection and increase competition. They level the playing field for small businesses everywhere, helping them to market their goods, find buyers, decrease their costs, and get back on their feet in tough times.
Google claims that individuals and small businesses across America are benefited by their free goods. They claim that their innovations are helping America to retain its competitive advantage. In other words, Google does not charge for its search engine and offers a service that millions enjoy, so it is not anti-competitive simply because it is preferred by people rather than rivals.