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Google Pays Big to Remain Safari’s Default Search Engine

It’s no secret that search engine giant Google pays Apple to be used as the default search engine in Safari – the default internet browser on all iOS devices – but at what cost? Neither party has ever spoken directly on the subject, but financial experts at Goldman Sachs believe the number to be in the billions.

The number has jumped significantly in recent years. A court document from a lawsuit against Google states that Apple received $1 billion from Google in 2014. Experts estimated the figure to be around $3 billion in 2017, but why has that figure increased so dramatically in a year? Because specifics aren’t released to the public, there is much disagreement on whether Apple charges Google a flat rate based on the amount of traffic they get, or whether that revenue stems from ads generated by Safari. Regardless of the cause, the estimate for 2018 sits right above $9 billion.

Chrome is by far the largest browser, with a nearly 60 percent stake in the market. Safari is in a distant second with 14.5 percent share. In the United States though, Safari is responsible for delivering over 30 percent of all internet traffic, with Chrome delivering 49 percent.

Bing was made the search engine of choice for Apple’s Siri system in 2013 while Google remained the choice for Safari. Google became the default for both sometime in 2017.

Financial analysts have an exceedingly positive outlook on Apple’s services revenue, which was $9.55 billion for the third quarter of 2018. Google’s payments to Apple would fall under this category.

Why does any of this matter? Thanks to the iPhone, Safari has cemented itself as the second largest browser in the world, meaning that Google’s continued partnership with Apple helps the search giant retain dominance in their industry.