A class-action lawsuit against Apple and Google suggested the company CEOs met in secret to collude on the suppression of the search market, but it has been dismissed by a judge in California, reports AppleInsider.
Users had argued that Google struck a deal making its search engine the default on Apple’s Safari web browser specifically to keep Apple from competing in the general search market. These payments to Apple, users alleged, have “stunted innovation” and “deprived” users of “quality, service, and privacy that they otherwise would have enjoyed but for Google’s anticompetitive conduct.”
They also allege that it created a world where users have fewer choices, enabling Google to prefer its own advertisers, which users said caused an “annoying and damaging distortion” of search results.
According to a court filing seen by AppleInsider, California Judge Rita Lin has dismissed all claims made by the plaintiffs but has left the opportunity for one claim to be amended for reexamination. The plaintiffs have 30 days to submit their second amended complaint.
On October 11, 2023, The Register reported that Google pays Apple between US$18 billion to $20 billion a year to remain the dominant search engine in the iPhone.
The report looked into the potential implications for Apple of the civil antitrust legal battle between the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Google. The DoJ argues that Google monopolizes search and search advertising.
One of the major interest areas in the case, which started last month, is the Information Services Agreement (ISA) between Apple and Google. In the trial it is being highlighted as one of the primary examples of anticompetitive behavior.
“We believe there is a possibility that federal courts rule against Google and force it to terminate its search deal with Apple,” said Bernstein in the report sent to The Register. “We estimate that the ISA is worth $18B-20B in annual payments from Google to Apple, accounting for 14-16 percent of Apple’s annual operating profits.”