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What Google Pays Apple to Keep Google Search the Default Search Engine on iOS

Joel Rosenblatt and Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:

Apple received $1 billion from its rival in 2014, according to a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle Corp.’s copyright lawsuit against Google. The search engine giant has an agreement with Apple that gives the iPhone maker a percentage of the revenue Google generates through the Apple device, an attorney for Oracle said at a Jan. 14 hearing in federal court. […]

Annette Hurst, the Oracle attorney who disclosed details of the Google-Apple agreement at last week’s court hearing, said a Google witness questioned during pretrial information said that “at one point in time the revenue share was 34 percent.” It wasn’t clear from the transcript whether that percentage is the amount of revenue kept by Google or paid to Apple.

An attorney for Google objected to the information being disclosed and attempted to have the judge strike the mention of 34 percent from the record.

“That percentage just stated, that should be sealed,” lawyer Robert Van Nest said, according to the transcript. “We are talking hypotheticals here. That’s not a publicly known number.”

The magistrate judge presiding over the hearing later refused Google’s request to block the sensitive information in the transcript from public review. Google then asked Alsup to seal and redact the transcript, saying the disclosure could severely affect its ability to negotiate similar agreements with other companies. Apple joined Google’s request in a separate filing.

“The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple,” Google said in its Jan. 20 filing. “Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential.”

The transcript vanished without a trace from electronic court records at about 3 p.m. Pacific standard time with no indication that the court ruled on Google’s request to seal it.

Fascinating. If it’s a revenue share agreement (as opposed to a flat sum), I wonder how Apple verifies the numbers?

Everyone knows Google pays Apple for this placement, but now that we have an actual figure (and no reason to believe it’s gone down since 2014), how does this square with Tim Cook’s criticism of Google’s targeted advertising business model as an invasion of privacy?

Friday, 22 January 2016