Posted in Legal Troubles, Menacing Monopoly

$26 billion, with a b: That’s how much Google shelled out to keep its search engine the default in 2021

It’s an enormous sum of money, but it’s worth it to Google:

Google paid $26.3 billion to be the default search engine on mobile phones and web browsers in 2021, according to a slide made public Friday in a federal antitrust trial against the company.

The number is a more granular look into how much Google pays partners, including Apple, to be the default search engine on their products. The U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of state attorneys general have argued in the case that Google has illegally maintained its monopoly power in general search by leveraging its dominance to lock rivals out of key distribution channels, such as Apple’s Safari web browser.

The $26.3 billion figure does not represent the payments to any one company, but Apple likely represents the largest recipient. Bernstein previously estimated Google could pay Apple as much as $19 billion this year for the out-of-the-box default placement on Apple devices. 

The court needs to release more data about this case so the public can see the evidence the DOJ presented that Google is an illegal monopoly. That’s very important. Google’s lawyers shouldn’t be allowed to keep key pieces of information secret. We deserve to know the truth about Google’s harmful business practices.