Google pays Apple 36 percent of all ad revenue it generates whenever someone does a Google search using Apple’s Safari browser. The number, which was supposed to remain confidential, was revealed by Kevin Murphy, an economics professor at the University of Chicago during his testimony on behalf of Alphabet at the company’s ongoing Justice Department trial in Washington on Monday, Bloomberg reported. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed the 36 percent figure the day after it first became public during his testimony in the separate Google / Epic Games trial, reported CNBC.
The number shed more light on the relationship between two of the world’s largest tech companies, which has come under antitrust scrutiny in the last few years. The DOJ has accused Google of using its vast resources to maintain market dominance by paying companies like Apple, whose iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices have billions of users collectively, to be the default search engine on Safari. In 2021, Google reportedly paid Apple “around $18 billion” to be the default search engine on Safari, a New York Times report revealed. Whether that $18 billion is on top of Apple's 36 percent cut is unclear — on November 15th, Business Insider reported that it was included in the 36 percent of search revenue and not a separate fee, but that hasn't been confirmed yet by any Google executives under oath.
Last week, Google and Apple had raised objections making details of their arrangement public, Bloomberg noted. Google said that making more details public "would unreasonably undermine Google's competitive standing in relation to both competitors and other counterparties" in a court filing.
It’s not clear how much ad revenue Google generates from Safari, but it’s safe to assume that 36 percent of that number would likely be tens of billions of dollars. In 2022, Google’s total revenue was $279.8 billion, and a majority of it came from advertising.
Google and Apple did not respond to Engadget’s request for comment.
Update, November 15, 2023, 4:10PM ET: This story and its sub-headline has been updated to note that it's not clear if Apple's 36 percent cut of search revenues is on top of the $18 billion that Google reportedly pays the company to be the default search engine in the Safari browser. The sub-headline originally stated that the $18 billion was in addition to the 36 percent cut.