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Apple, Google and a deal that controls the web

A former Google executive who asked not to be identified because he wasn't allowed to speak about the deal said the prospect of losing Apple's traffic was "terrifying" for the company.

The Department of Justice, which is seeking an injunction preventing Google from doing deals like the one it did with Apple, argues that the deal unfairly helped make Google, which handles 92 percent of the world's internet searches, the center of consumers do. Online life.

Online companies like Yelp and Expedia, as well as companies that range from noodle shops to news organizations, often complain that Google's search dominance allows it to charge advertising fees when people simply search by name and direct consumers to their own products to steer. like Google Maps. Microsoft, which had its own antitrust dispute two decades ago, has told UK regulators that if it were the default option for iPhones and iPads, it would make more advertising money every time it searches its competing search engine, Bing.

Competitors like DuckDuckGo, a small search engine that sells itself as a privacy-oriented alternative to Google, could never compare the Google tab with Apple.

Apple is now receiving estimated annual payments of $ 8 billion to $ 12 billion – up from $ 1 billion a year in 2014 – in exchange for integrating the Google search engine into its products. It's probably the single largest payment Google makes to anyone, and accounts for 14 to 21 percent of Apple's annual profits. This is not money Apple would like to get away with.

In fact, Mr. Cook and Mr. Pichai met again in 2018 to discuss how to increase search revenue. After the meeting, a senior Apple employee wrote to a Google counterpart: "Our vision is that we work as if we were a company," the Justice Department complained.

Forced separation could mean the loss of easy money for Apple. However, it would be a bigger threat to Google that would have no obvious way to replace the lost traffic. It could also lead Apple to buy or build their own search engine. Inside Google, people believe that Apple is one of the few companies in the world that a former executive said could offer a formidable alternative. Google also feared that Apple could make it harder for iPhone users to get to the Google search engine without the agreement.

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