Google It has Android, Pixels and countless products focused on the smart home. However, Your most important device is the iPhone, believe it or not. To the point that they are willing to pay exorbitant amounts every year to make their search engine the default in Safari.
In the United States, the antitrust trial against Google has been attracting much of the attention for a few weeks. And the North American Department of Justice has decided to focus its efforts on understanding why the alliance with Apple represents so much for those of Mountain Viewand why other companies would do everything possible to be in that place.
Google has been Safari’s default search engine since it appeared in 2003 as the alternative en casa to Internet Explorer for Mac. And the trend has continued with the landing of the software on mobile platforms, first with the iPhone and later with the iPad.
Considering the popularity of the iPhone, which is by far the most successful product in Apple’s current catalog, maintaining default search engine status has become crucial for Google. The United States believes that those from Mountain View pay their neighbors in Cupertino about 10 billion dollars annually to achieve it. However, The Register reports that, according to data from a financial analyst, the agreement would actually be worth between $18,000 and 20,000 million per year.
Thus, it is stipulated that the contract for Google to be the default search engine in Safari represents between 14 and 16 percent of Apple’s annual operating profits.
The iPhone and its marked importance for Google
The curious thing is that Google’s need to remain Safari’s default search engine on the iPhone and other Apple devices would not necessarily be related to pursuing an economic objective. If not by prevailing against the competition.
Own Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, made his position on the matter clear when testifying in the antitrust trial against Google. He assured that his company tried to become Apple’s default search engine, but that the story did not end well. In fact, he revealed that they were willing to lose up to $15 billion a year if they succeeded. He also wanted to hide the Bing logo so that it would not appear in searches carried out from an iPhone, iPad or Mac.
Why would a corporation the caliber of Redmond subject itself to that? Nadella made it clear: “Basically, they are kingmakers.”, he said about Apple. Furthermore, he warned that the carrot that all search engines chase in this race is to impose themselves as the predefined option. Becoming a default is “the only thing that matters in terms of changing user behavior,” the businessman warned.
Microsoft, like Google and other companies in the sector, are aware that being the default search engine on any platform is crucial. After all, most the users They are prone to leaving the configuration of their devices or applications as they arrive from the factory. And since the iPhone is the most popular mobile phone in the United States, with more than 50 percent of the market share, it represents a quick access route to hundreds of millions of users.
A strategy to contain Chrome on iOS?
Now, Apple is the best-priced company in the world, with a valuation that exceeds 2.8 trillion dollars. Therefore, it is logical to think that you have plenty of resources to develop your own web search engine. In fact, it is already doing this and has even implemented it in some of its features, such as Siri and Spotlight.
However, those from Cupertino are realistic and know that, at least for now, they are not prepared to compete face to face against Google. This is probably one of the most valuable lessons learned from the 2012 Apple Maps fiasco.
Although it is also a game of balance. Allowing Google to be the iPhone’s default search engine not only brings in big revenue for Apple, but it’s also a way to keep Mountain View at bay.
After all, if Tim Cook decided to switch to Bing or DuckDuckGo, he would risk Google retaliating. For example, to compete more directly against Safari on iOS with Chrome. And that is probably a battle that those in Cupertino are not willing to face.