back to article Google paying Apple BEEELLIONS to stay search top dog on iDevices, say analysts

Google may well pay Apple $3bn in fiscal year 2017 to keep its search engine the default on iOS devices, analysis by Bernstein suggests. In 2016, while suing Google for copyright infringement, an Oracle lawyer let slip that Google paid Apple $1bn in 2014 to keep its search engine the default in Safari on iPhones. The new …

  1. Ol'Peculier

    Makes it clear what, or who, is the product here...

  2. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Google's willingness to pay Apple for default search access is a testament to iOS's strength," the report notes.

    Or merely a testament to Google wanting to own everything under the Sun datawise.

    - especially if it's true that IOS users spend more than Android users - 1 IOS gullible idiot wise investor probably worth 3 cheapskate Android gullible idiots users.

    If the user is not using Google as their search/gateway to the internet - Google might miss some choice data tidbit.

    If Apple really cared about it's users data and privacy, it probably shouldn't take the money and leave the choice firmly up to it's users - who'd probably default to Google anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Woah fella.

      I think its the other way around. If we cancel out those on subsidised phones (which are a much of a muchness on a phone contract in terms of price.

      Id say its more likely that a person outright purchasing an Android phone is likely to spend more.

      I think the metric you're trying to get at is that a high spending Android user is more likely to carefully consider their spending as opposed to a high spending Apple user who is not.

      I can attest to this as I have numerous clients which weirdly is alnost a clear 50/50 split. I can you that personally, I find it far and away less stressful selling to an Apple oriented CEO than an Android oriented CEO. Simply because the Apple guy probably makes more decisions on impulse.

      Obviously, this is anecdotal at best but im sure quite a few people here could attest to the same experience.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      DuckDuckGo is the only option if they want to protect privacy

      Google is paying to be the default choice in Safari, not the only choice. Some iPhone users who care more about privacy (like me) have changed it to DuckDuckGo.

      You suggest Apple should "leave the choice up to its users". There's a big difference between giving them a menu of search engines to choose from when first using Safari, and making the default the only one that doesn't collect personal info on you, DuckDuckGo. Almost no one would choose them because few regular people have ever heard of them... Everyone has heard of Google, most have probably heard of Bing, many may dimly remember Yahoo. Those are the only three 98% of people would choose, so giving them a choice isn't protecting their privacy.

      It would be interesting to know what DuckDuckGo would pay Apple to become the default. They make their money from ads (based on one time search terms, no history) and affiliate relationships with retailers. I wonder how much less they make per search than Google because of the lack of personal data collection?

      1. rssfed23

        Re: DuckDuckGo is the only option if they want to protect privacy

        You couldn’t pay me to use DuckDuckGo.

        I’m able to find the answer I need 9/10 times on first search with google.

        I’ve tried.duckeuckgo many times before but when I do the quality of results I get is poor. Closer to 2/10 searches gIving me the result I need every time.

        I put this down to Google’s spying and knowing everything about me along with their enhanced search algorithms and experience as to the reason why this happens.

        You’d have to pay me £100s each month to use DDG as the amount of time I’d loose clicking through results/pages and search optimisation can easily get into the £hundreds of lost actual productivity time at my daily rate.

        One day a company will be able to figure out the proper values for their entire workforce switching from their search engine of choice and I can reliably predict they will be significant.

        1. Tim99 Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: DuckDuckGo is the only option if they want to protect privacy


          You couldn’t pay me to use DuckDuckGo. I’m able to find the answer I need 9/10 times on first search with google.

          Use the !Bang -- !g search with Google - !w search with Wikipedia

          1. handleoclast Silver badge

            Re: DuckDuckGo is the only option if they want to protect privacy


            That is either the cleverest or stupidest idea I have ever heard of.

            Yes, !w is a lot easier to type than So that's clever.

            OTOH, there are currently 9249 bangs on duckduckgo. Was it !s for stackoverflow or !stack. Or maybe it's !o for overflow. Youtube is !yt (why not y?) Etc. There's no way I'd be able to memorize even a tiny fraction of that lot. And no way I'm going to read through 9249 of them to figure out which ones to memorize. So it's a bit fucking stupid.

            Often when I search I don't know where the best result is going to come from and don't want to restrict search to a particular site. In fact that's most times I search. So it's a lot fucking stupid.

            Sometimes, I admit, I can and do use google's site: - for example when looking for RPMs I'd use In fact, that's about the only time I do use site. Guess what? is not a bang.

            So, actually, no fucking use at all. Because if there was ever a time when I wanted to restrict my search to a site that doesn't have its own built-in search it's going to take me as much time to search for a bang than it is to type

            And it's worse than that, because duckduckgo results aren't as good as google's in the first place. So you've just told us about a faster way to find fuck-all of use.

            1. Tim99 Silver badge

              Re: DuckDuckGo is the only option if they want to protect privacy

              I don't seem to work the way you do. I try DDG first with something like: my special hitech search; then, if I don't get something useful, I can append the two character !g it to get: my special hitech search !g

              Being an old fart who was around on ARPANET, I suspect that my memory may be worse than yours, so, I look for an easy life - I tend to use an iPad a lot. DDG is one of the search engines in Safari; and if I use a contact blocker like Purify, I am spared the one ad from DDG and the four from Google. I do use Google, but generally am not logged in...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: DuckDuckGo is the only option if they want to protect privacy

          "You couldn’t pay me to use DuckDuckGo. I’m able to find the answer I need 9/10 times on first search with google."

          DDG uses google you fuckwit. Its the same results less the bias caused by tracking.

          Jesus Christ. Is the "I won't try it because its not X" thing permeating into IT people now.

          As an IT professional you're supposed to experiment with tech objectively to discover the best solutions for whatever scenarios present themselves.

          If you recommend tech based solely on your own affiliations, biases and opinions you are trash, now fuck off back to the Genius Bar or whatever $CORP shill helpdesk you work on and re-assess yourself.

          *walks off shaking head and facepalming*


          1. handleoclast Silver badge

            Re: DuckDuckGo is the only option if they want to protect privacy


            You're of the opinion duckduckgo scrapes google. Until recently, so was I. Then I found out (today, somewhat uncoincidentally) that when bing fails duckduckgo also fails.

            Perhaps google ditched its own search engine and now uses bing. Although that doesn't really explain why google continued to work while bing (and also duckduckgo) were down.

            So you get 10/10 for being opinionated. 0/10 for reading and comprehending the article before posting.

  3. jonnycando

    No need for them to pay....

    I find all other attempts at a search engine wanting for various Google it is. I'd use it even if they weren't paying to be default. And well, even they have come up lacking once in a while, but less often than oh....say....Bing. Which is from microsoft, which makes it dead on arrival.

    1. Tikimon Silver badge

      Re: No need for them to pay....

      You sure those other search engines are really failing you? When I switched from Google to DuckDuckGo I was at first dismayed by how few results I got back compared to the pages of Google returns.Then I paid attention to what was actually IN the search results.

      DuckDuckGo was giving me fewer, but more relevant search results. Google littered the result list with paid and partner-related information, badly diluting the actual hits that matched my search query. So I was scrolling through five pages of ADS (a paid search result is an advertisement, sorry) to find the same info I got in two pages from DDG. More hits do not mean Better. Your mileage will vary.

      1. oneeye

        Re: No need for them to pay....

        "Five Pages of ADS" ??? You must be kidding? I've got two words for ya. Aaaaaaadddd BLOCKER!!

        And maybe a browser that respects you, not Chrome.

  4. John Lilburne Silver badge

    Just goes to show ...

    ... if their search engine was actually demonstrably better than the opposition they wouldn't need to do this.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Just goes to show ...

      Why would Apple want to give up this revenue stream: they're obviously happy with the situation. And it's not as if user choice ever mattered to Apple: want a different browser? Tough.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Just goes to show ...

        Users have a choice, it is easy to change the default search in Safari in Settings. But most people don't change the defaults on their tech - that's true for iPhone users, Android users, Windows users and so forth.

        Heck, despite all the warnings about putting a password on your SSID, most people didn't when their router came with a default SSID of 'linksys' (etc.) and no password so router vendors had to solve the problem in software (and hardware, with that autoconfiguration button)

  5. not_my_real_name

    Is this because there isn't a user option to customise search?

    or because no IPhone user anywhere can figure out how to?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this because there isn't a user option to customise search?

      Settings -> Safari -> Search Engine.

      Pick one of: Google, Yahoo (presumably a no-op now), Bing (see Yahoo) or DuckDuckGo.

      You can't addd your own

      You owe me one ----------------------------------------------------------------->

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ultimately, who pays?

    So where are all these BEEELLIONS coming from?

    - from the extra markup on almost everything you buy because Google has conned most manufacturers and retailers into believing they have to advertise with them in order to sell anything.

    It's bad enough that Google is slurping people's data and tracking their every move; but they are also syphoning off our money to pay for the whole sorry mess.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ultimately, who pays?

      It is the promise of all those lovely SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) that makes people/business pay google to promote their page rankings.

      Most of the time it does not work because someone else who is in the same line of business as you has paid google more dosh to promote their stuff over you.

      If I really, really have to use google I do it via an anonyimizer which limits the amount of MY Data that google can slurp.

      Limit what bits of your life you put out there. Let them work for your data rather than you giving it to them on a plate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ultimately, who pays?

        SEO is bollocks. May as well sacrifice a chicken (or a potato if vegan).

  7. RyokuMas Silver badge

    Nothing to do with "being first choice"

    It's very simple: by being the default search engine, it allows Google to do stuff like this.

    Nothing to do with being first choice and everything to do with being able to advertise their own stuff on a competitor's platform

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to do with "being first choice"

      You don't go to Google's home page when you do a search from Safari, it takes you right to the results page, so you won't see that ad. They do preferred placement for their own stuff in the search results, that's where they get most people.

      Almost no one will see that ad, unless they have as their home page.

      1. LukeJQuinn

        Re: Nothing to do with "being first choice"


    2. LukeJQuinn

      Re: Nothing to do with "being first choice"

      They are reportedly paying for the default search, not default homepage. No iOS users would see Google's homepage unless they actually navigated to their homepage - which is unnecessary when you can just search in the address bar.

      They are reportedly paying that simply because they can afford it, and it keeps their brand spread across all devices regardless of OS or device.

  8. Fazal Majid

    Apple may have a branded DuckDuckGo in the works

    Over the last 2 years or so I've seen online surveys that suggest Apple is working with DuckDuckGo on a co-branded search service. I doubt Apple would voluntarily forgo Google's billions for default placement, but it would be a credible threat if Google is foolhardy enough to believe its brand trumps the power of defaults.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple may have a branded DuckDuckGo in the works

      That would be the end of DDG for me then

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Apple may have a branded DuckDuckGo in the works

        Why would that matter to you? Them working with Apple on a branded service (so iPhone users see "Apple Search" instead of DuckDuckGo which the vast majority will never have heard of) won't affect your use of DDG which would still look the same. In fact, if they had all of Apple's traffic going their way, they'd have a lot more money to further improve their service.

        The only way it should make a difference for you is if:

        1) They drop their one claim to fame to provide Apple with personal data, which Apple has no real use for since they aren't an advertising behemoth like Google

        2) You hate Apple so much you refuse to use anything that is even associated with them, in which case you should not use Google either, because they are currently paying Apple $3 billion a year as per the article

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brave + Duck Duck Go

    Seems cromulent.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Apple should just make their own search engine

    It would be called Ping as both a clever and heart-warming play on Microsoft's well loved Google-beater Bing, and as a way of using the existing fountain of good will and user engagement with Apple's well loved iTunes and its clever and heavily visited built-in social network.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting conclusion

    "its search position is sufficiently strong that it no longer needs to pay to be the default browser."

    But then removing it as default on hundreds of millions of devices would most likely have a huge impact on it being "sufficiently strong".

    OK not as bad a MS abandoning Windows Phone because it was to expenisve / can't be arsed, somehow not realising even if they had 10% of the market, the money they could make on Bing / Cortana searches could be huge. But then again, that's a different department and we all know about Microsoft and units working together.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DuckDuckGo uses bing!?


  13. Unicornpiss Silver badge

    This disgusts me

    Google is apparently utterly lacking in fortitude. Most folks have found out the hard way that Google is far and away the best at finding what you are looking for, ethics, privacy, and all other considerations aside. To pay Apple to use them is pretty weak. A billion dollars! Geez--imagine how much Google's public opinion would soar if this was donated to charity and not used to bribe one of the world's most profitable companies to come to a conclusion that should have been logical anyway. Or just put back into R&D. On the surface, it seems like a bold business decision. But it is born of greed and cowardice and apparently utterly lacking in confidence in the strength of their product. Re. Apple, they should "Let them eat Bing" and see how long before the pitchforks and torches come out to the tune of the resounding laughter of Android users. Or let Apple try to roll their own and see if it works as well as Apple's own maps service did.

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