Google's Monopoly Power Exposed: $26 Billion to Be Your Default Search Engine

Google reportedly opened its coffers in 2021 and spilled a staggering $26.3 billion to maintain its coveted position as the default search engine on mobile phones and web browsers in a jaw-dropping display of benevolence. It's as if they decided to toss their change around for fun, but this large sum reveals more than just their desire to be the top dog in search; it's also the stuff of courtroom drama.

So, what's all the fuss about? The curtain was drawn back in a federal antitrust trial against Google, revealing this staggering expenditure. We're talking about a sum of money more significant than most countries' GDP! And why is this so? So, let us find out.

This colossal payout is like Google's VIP ticket into the world of web and mobile search. It's a fee to ensure that whenever you grab your smartphone or open your web browser, Google is there, front and center, ready to answer your burning questions. It's like a relentless butler who never gets tired of hearing you ask, "Hey Google, what's the weather like today?"

Don't get us wrong: Google didn't just hand this money to one lucky entity. They distribute the wealth, or more precisely, the payment, to their partners. Apple deserves a special mention because, let's face it, they'll be getting the lion's share of the $26.3 billion pie. Google pays them to keep a spare room available for their luggage.

But why is the US Department of Justice so agitated? They, along with a slew of state attorneys general, appear to believe Google is abusing its dominance in the world of general search. They argue that Google uses its dominance to ensure its rivals can't even get a whiff of the key distribution channels.

Now, $26.3 billion is not insignificant. It's the kind of money you'd expect to find in a Scrooge McDuck money pit, not as part of a contract to be the default search engine. But Google insists that they aren't forcing anyone to do anything. Users, they claim, can change their default search engine with a few clicks. "Hey, it's your choice, but wouldn't you rather Google it?" they seem to be saying.

The slide shown in court was titled "Google Search+ Margins." We don't know what sounds more like an exclusive club than that. This club's revenue in 2021 will be a staggering $146 billion! That's a substantial sum of money. But that's not all. They also had to spend a considerable $26 billion on what they call "traffic acquisition costs."

But here's the fun part – the slide takes us back to 2014 when Google was just a rookie in the big game, booking a mere $47 billion in revenue and paying out a meager $7.1 billion for default status. By 2021, Google's revenue from Search+ has more than tripled, while its costs have nearly quadrupled. It's a classic rags-to-riches story but with a lot more zeros.

While Google is open about its overall traffic acquisition costs, there is a catch. The figures also include the money Google pays network partners for the advertisements you see on their websites. So, Google is essentially like that friend who always insists on picking up the dinner tab even when you don't ask.

Now, we mentioned that the slide from the courtroom only referred to Search+ revenue. But Google's pocket change isn't just limited to search.

Despite the courtroom drama and jaw-dropping figures, Google has remained silent. No comments from Google; it's as if they're saving their words for more clicks. And what about Apple? They, too, are quick to share their thoughts. Perhaps they need to be more preoccupied with counting the billions pouring in.

Google Pays $26 Billion to Rig the Search Engine Game

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