A Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks To End Long-Term Apple And Google Search Engine Relationship

A lawsuit may place Apple and Google’s very lucrative professional relationship in jeopardy, with the class-action claiming that said relationship is inherently anti-competitive.

Google Search, considered to be the tech giant’s defining product by many, is one of the most popular search engines across the world, owing to a number of different products. A lack of active competition is definitely one of these reasons, but it’s also undeniable that much of the internet’s traffic is redirected to Search by some of the most popular browsers. Guess which browsers are some of the most popular across the board? Google Chrome and Safari. The former, of course being the company’s own product, will naturally use Search as the default search engine, but Apple’s own browser also having it as the default engine is leading to a large swath of the internet sticking to Google. It’s essentially an endorsement from one of the biggest and most influential tech companies across the world; of course the layman will continue to use Search and not explore other options if Apple itself is suggesting that Google is the way to go.

Something that’s a tad bit shadier is just how much Google pays Apple in order to maintain the status quo and chronically stay as the default search engine. While no definitive figures have ever been revealed, with both involved parties keeping it hush-hush, analysts from research firm Bernstein reveal that the sum measures around USD $18 billion to $20 billion in 2022, jumping from an estimated USD $15 billion in 2021. The results were achieved after a thorough examination of financial reports from both Apple and Google across the relevant years. Such jaw-dropping numbers are virtually (or fit whatever other adjective here seems appropriate) impossible for any other company to feasibly achieve. Google has effectively bought a massive billboard across Apple’s Safari browsers, and no one else is allowed the ad space.

The class-action lawsuit was issued by the California Crane School, Inc. on the 27th of December, 2021. It states that Google and Apple’s non-compete relationship is in direct violation of the U.S. Antitrust Laws, and is asking for an injunction that will effectively end the non-compete between the two. As investigations will begin to unfurl in the wake of this lawsuit, it is very likely that we’ll even get to see the actual numbers behind the non-compete. Apple and Google have had their hands in the cookie jar for a while, and catching them red-handed would be nice to see, assuming things get that far.

Read next: This Infographic Details Google's Biggest Search Algorithm Updates Across 2021
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