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Google paid Apple $1 billion for search on iOS devices

When the iPhone launched in 2007, it used Google as its default search engine. With the growth and success of the iPhone over the coming years, the company was able to control a large portion of mobile web searches.

This was so profitable for Google, that it paid Apple $1 billion dollars in 2014 to remain the default search option on iOS devices according to a transcript of court proceedings in the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit.

The alleged agreement between the two companies saw Google pay Apple a portion of its revenue made from searches. Apparently the search company paid as much as 34 per cent of its revenue from searches made on iOS devices to Apple.

Neither Google nor Apple has confirmed these numbers as it would be in the best interest of both companies for this information to remain secret. The fact that these numbers are now out in public may hurt both companies' ability to negotiate over search in the future.

While Google does remain the default search option throughout most of iOS, there is one place on the OS that it does not control. When Apple debuted Siri in iOS 5 it chose to make Bing the default search engine for its personal assistant. It is possible to change Siri's default search engine but it is unlikely that most users would take the trouble to do so. Microsoft most likely made a deal similar to the one between Google and Apple to secure Bing's place as Siri's default search engine.

The fact that Google outright paid Apple to secure its place as the default search engine for iOS is not surprising due to the high level of revenue that this produces for the company. However, this news masy entice users to reconsider which search engine they prefer to handle their mobile searches.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexey Boldin

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.