Google paid Apple $US1bn to be default iPhone search engine; Android profits revealed, too

Court documents show that Google paid Apple a $US1 billion fee in 2014 in order to remain the default search engine on the iPhone, a report from Bloomberg noted yesterday.

Court documents show that Google paid Apple a $US1 billion fee in 2014 in order to remain the default search engine on the iPhone, a report from Bloomberg noted yesterday.

The revelation came in the form of a hearing transcript that took place earlier this month, part of an Oracle lawsuit against Google that alleges the search giant violated copyright law in its use of Java to develop the Android mobile operating system.

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In addition to the billion-dollar fee, Google shared search revenues generated via the iPhone with Apple, though it was unclear whether the transcript-stated figure of 34% referred to Google’s share or Apple’s, the Bloomberg report stated. Both sides, the report went on, subsequently argued that the transcript should be redacted, and it has subsequently been removed from electronic records.

Elsewhere in the since-erased transcript, an Oracle lawyer revealed that Google has made a total of $US31 billion in revenue on Android, $US22 billion of which was profit, though the methodology by which the company arrived at those figures was not clear, and that passage was also removed from public records.

The Oracle lawsuit was originally filed in 2010, and was originally decided in favor of Google in May 2012. However, the appeals process has dragged on since, and an attempt by Google to refer the case to the US Supreme Court – over a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that partially reversed the jury’s original decision – was denied. The case is now back in the US District Court of Northern California for re-adjudication of the issues raised in the appellate decision.

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