Google paid $26 billion to become the default search engine
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Google pays $26.3 billion to Apple to be the default search engine on Apple products, according to a slide made public.

This number shows how much Google pays partners, including Apple, to be the default search engine on their products. The U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of state attorneys general have argued in the case that Google illegally maintained its monopoly power in general search by leveraging its dominance to lock rivals out of key distribution channels, such as Apple’s Safari browser.

$26.3 billion does not represent payments to any one company, but Apple is probably the biggest recipient. Google could pay Apple up to $19 billion for out-of-the-box placement on Apple devices this year, according to Bernstein. 

“Google spends billions of dollars every year on distribution – including Apple, LG, Motorola, and Samsung – as well as major wireless carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon – to secure default status for its general search engine and, in many cases, to specifically prohibit Google’s counterparties from dealing with its competitors,” according to the DOJ complaint.

With just a few clicks, users can still change their default search engine, according to Google.

Google’s search business’s revenue in 2021 was more than $146 billion, while traffic acquisition costs were more than $26 billion, according to the slide shown in court Friday.

According to the slide, Google booked revenue for the division of roughly $47 billion in 2014 and paid about $7.1 billion for the default status. The revenue for Search+ more than tripled between 2014 and 2021, while this portion of TAC costs nearly quadrupled.

Whenever Google reports overall TAC, it also includes the amount it pays to network partners for ads displayed on their sites, according to its 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.