As an iPhone user, you probably know that Apple does not allow third-party apps to be pre-loaded on iOS. The YouTube and Google Maps apps that used to come with the iPhone were developed by Apple but were removed in iOS 6. This move led to the introduction of Apple Maps, which had its fair share of issues.
During the ongoing U.S. vs. Google antitrust trial, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet and Google, appeared in DC District Court to testify. The focus of his testimony revolved around the deal between Google and Apple to make Google the default search engine on Safari. The judge will have to determine whether this deal hampers competition in the search engine market.
Pichai revealed during his testimony that he meets with Apple CEO Tim Cook once a year to discuss the arrangement between their companies. In 2018, Apple expressed concerns about a decline in revenue from the Google deal due to a decrease in traffic to Google Search on iOS. According to notes from a meeting between Google and Apple, it was noted that Google has no control over the amount or type of traffic received by Safari; Apple has the ultimate control.
Emails from five years ago, shared with the court by Google’s partnerships executive Don Harrison, shed light on the discussions between Pichai and Cook. Pichai mentioned the idea of building a Google search application for iOS during the meeting, highlighting Google’s expertise in search. However, the suggestion of pre-loading the Google Search app on iOS was considered too risky for both companies. Given the significant revenue involved, neither Google nor Apple wanted to do anything that might disrupt the flow of money.
In conclusion, Pichai’s testimony in court shed light on the relationship between Google and Apple regarding the default search engine deal. It remains to be seen how the judge will assess the impact of this arrangement on competition in the search engine market.