The ongoing antitrust trial led by the US Department of Justice against Google has shed light on some intriguing details about the tech giant’s financial arrangements. Specifically, it’s been revealed that Apple secures a substantial portion of its revenue through a deal with Google. This agreement ensures that Google remains the default search engine on Safari’s mobile browser, which is standard on iPhones. This deal is quite lucrative for Apple, as they receive up to 36% of the revenue from Google’s ad-tracking on Safari, which translates to a hefty sum in euros annually.
This arrangement between Apple and Google is certainly raising eyebrows, considering Apple’s public stance on privacy. The company, led by CEO Tim Cook, has often positioned itself as a champion of user privacy, vocally criticizing the pervasive nature of user tracking and offering features to block data tracking within apps. However, this recent disclosure suggests a conflicting scenario where Apple benefits financially from the very practices it publicly condemns.
The Justice Department views this revenue-sharing deal as evidence of Google’s anti-competitive behavior. Yet, it also casts a shadow over Apple’s proclaimed dedication to privacy. It appears that while Apple publicly decries data tracking, it is simultaneously profiting from Google’s ad revenue that stems from tracking iPhone users’ search habits.
Both Google and Apple have been tight-lipped about this partnership, and the disclosure of the revenue share percentage visibly unsettled Google’s leading litigator, John Schmidtlein, in court. This secrecy, coupled with the financial benefits Apple receives, adds a layer of complexity to the ongoing discussions about user privacy, data tracking, and the enforcement of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards.