Google pays Apple 36% of the revenue it earns from search advertising made through the Safari browser, the main economics expert for Alphabet Inc. told Bloomberg.
Kevin Murphy, a University of Chicago professor, disclosed the number during his testimony in Google’s defense at the Justice Department’s antitrust trial in Washington. This revenue cut is due to a deal between Google and Apple.
One of the major interest areas in the antitrust case, which started last month, is the Information Services Agreement (ISA) between Apple and Google. In the trial it’s being highlighted as one of the primary examples of anticompetitive behavior.
The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks the DoJ/Google battle could push Apple to make its own search engine, though the company has denied such plans. However, for years, Apple pondered building a search engine that could replace Google as the preferred option on its devices.
A few years ago, Apple introduced a web crawler called Applebot. Like crawlers from Google and Microsoft, this system scours the internet to index websites for future search results. It essentially exists to find sites that it can provide to users in Siri and Spotlight.
In a 2018 Macworld article, Jason Cross said Apple should develop its own search engine. “The company’s stance on privacy is at odds with the way the biggest search engines operate,” Cross wrote. “Maybe there’s a better way.”
I’m not totally convinced that we’ll see Apple Search — or perhaps it will be called “ViewPoint” as shown in the accompanying image by Tom Hyoos. However, I’m not as sure as I once was that we won’t.