Google to Pay Apple $15 Billion to Maintain Search Engine Status

Google and Apple are two of the biggest names in the tech industry, and the two companies are working in tandem despite their public corporate rivalry. According to Forbes, Google is set to pay Apple up to $15 billion to maintain its role as Apple’s exclusive search engine. Currently, the default search engine on Apple’s Safari browser is Google, which means that users go through Google when they use Siri, Apple’s voice assistant.

According to 9to5mac, Google previously paid Apple $10 billion in 2020 for its search engine spot. Bernstein analysts report that this amount is likely to increase in an effort to outbid Microsoft. While being Apple’s exclusive search engine may be beneficial for Google now, Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi says that there’s always the risk that Google may decide the deal is no longer worth it. There are also regulatory risks. For instance, when Fortnite was banned from Apple App stores, it was also banned from Google Play, and Google will need to stay up to date with Apple’s regulations to maintain its search engine spot.

Criticism Over Privacy

Apple hasn’t only received criticism for retaining Google as its exclusive search engine because of the companies’ rivalry. In the past year, Google Chrome has been critiqued for its privacy issues related to online advertising, which the tech company has planned to tackle in an effort to find a middle ground between its advertisers and Apple’s privacy-first approach. The Guardian reports that Google will use AI to bundle similar individual users together. Rather than tracking users individually, the AI will instead track the group to preserve individual users’ privacy.

While Google’s advertising AI may be on the fence with Apple’s privacy-first policy, Apple continues to retain Google as their search engine for several reasons. According to Jane Horvath, Apple’s senior director of global privacy, one of the top reasons for using Google is its popularity. Worldwide, over 2,500% more organizations began investing in virtual team building in response to COVID-19, and Google’s virtual products allowed the company’s revenue to soar during the pandemic. However, if users are really concerned about their privacy, Horvath says Apple has built-in support for DuckDuckGo and Ecosia.

The tech giant itself has been increasingly emphasizing the importance of privacy not only with its user data but also with its own company. Employee theft comes in two varieties, embezzlement and misappropriation of trade secrets, and Apple recently filed a federal lawsuit against a former high-level employee for stealing trade secrets.

According to Apple’s privacy policy, privacy is built into its products from the beginning. However, if users are concerned about how much information they’re giving away, Forbes’ Kate O’Flaherty recommends limiting the Google services you use on your Apple devices.