Courtroom gaffe reveals Google pays Apple 36%of revenues in search deal

Corporate lawyers insisted that it be kept a secret, but a witness on the stand in the Epic v. Google trial blurted it out anyway: Google pays Apple 36% of search revenues generated in Safari, a spectacularly high cut that makes it look like Google will pay anything to maintain a position of market dominance. As it's an antitrust case, that's not the impression it wanted to make. Ashley Belanger:

According to Bloomberg Law, Google attorney John Schmidtlein "visibly cringed" when Murphy revealed the confidential information, which Google had initially claimed needed to be kept secret because otherwise it "would unreasonably undermine Google's competitive standing in relation to both competitors and other counterparties."

For the DOJ—which has made the Google-Apple deal the center of its case alleging that Google maintains an illegal monopoly over search—this detail confirms how valuable default placements on iPhones are to the search leader.

The DOJ has argued that Google pays so much for default search deals to block out competitors, lock search users into its services, and maintain a stronghold over the search industry—a dominant position that could be further entrenched by Google's advances with AI, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella testified. In September, an Apple exec testified that the default deal between Google and Apple was seemingly so lucrative that it even stopped Apple from creating its own rival search engine.

It's obvious that companies such as Google use their market power to limit competition, influence other markets, all of it. The question is whether the courts and Congress are able and willing to deal with it.