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article imageGoogle paid Apple $1b in 2014 to remain default iOS search engine

By James Walker     Jan 22, 2016 in Technology
Google reportedly paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 to remain as the default search engine in the company's iOS software used on the iPhone and iPad. The information was revealed as part of Google's ongoing legal case with Oracle.
Bloomberg reports today that the detail was filed in a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle's case against Google. Oracle claims Google's use of its Java software to power Android infringes on its copyright.
The transcript puts an end to the long-standing rumours of how much Google pays Apple to remain the default search engine for iOS. $1 billion was exchanged in 2014 for renewal of the contract, showing how much value Google places on maintaining the support of iOS users.
Bloomberg reports that Google witnesses described the revenue share as being "34 percent" in pre-trial questioning but it is unclear whether the percentage refers to revenue retained by Google or paid to Apple. Google's attorneys immediately objected to the disclosure, saying the percentage "should be sealed" as it isn’t publicly known.
Being the default search engine on such a major mobile platform means Google sees millions of requests made each hour from iOS users. When an iPhone is used for research, the user is likely to head straight to the Google-powered search bar, giving the company money and adding another strike to its tally of daily visits.
Despite the scale of the deal, Google isn't entirely responsible for powering iOS search experiences on the iPhone. Apple's Siri digital assistant relies on Microsoft's Bing for its backend search technology. Siri actually shares a common search core with Microsoft's own Cortana assistant as both end up sending requests to Bing servers.
Oracle's lawyers also made public some other details that Google has previously kept its lips sealed on. It told the court that Google has generated a total of $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profit from its Android mobile operating system since the platform launched in 2008.
The figures were used by Oracle to demonstrate that Android is a key money-maker for Google contributing significant amounts of revenue to its overall income. Its lawyers are continuing to attempt to convince the U.S. courts that the Android operating system infringes on the APIs contained in its Java software development kit.
Oracle may now seek as much as $1 billion from Google as it expands its claim to include newer versions of Android. As the court case drags on into its sixth year, Google is actually moving away from proprietary APIs, shifting Android's to use the open-source OpenJDK version of Java.
The revelations haven’t gone down too well with Google. It said the details are "highly sensitive" and "extremely confidential," urging the judge to redact the transcript as it contains information that, if made public, could make it more difficult to renew similar contracts in the future. Apple quickly joined Google in its request, now granted by the judge.
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