Google pays Apple approximately $18-20 billion annually to maintain its dominance as the primary search engine on the iPhone, according to a report published earlier this week.
Financial advisory firm Bernstein recently published a report analyzing the potential implications for Apple in light of the Justice Department's (DoJ) ongoing civil antitrust lawsuit against Google, focusing on alleged monopolistic practices in search and search advertising.
Google’s Deal With Apple Is at Risk
One aspect of the case is the Information Services Agreement (ISA) between Apple and Google, cited in the trial as an example of anticompetitive behavior.
Bernstein's report suggests the possibility of federal courts ruling against Google, which could lead to the termination of its search engine deal with Apple.
"We estimate that the ISA is worth $18B-20B in annual payments from Google to Apple, accounting for 14-16% of Apple's annual operating profits," Bernstein told The Register on Tuesday.
Experts believe that Google faces the possibility of losing the case, endangering its agreements not only with Apple but also with Samsung and Mozilla.
In the trial, the DoJ estimated Apple's earnings from the ISA with Google at about $10 billion, though these numbers are sourced externally and not from Apple or Google, according to the Wall Street analyst.
What Happens if Google Loses the Trial?
The case against Google and its implications for the iPhone's default search engine has garnered major media attention, and it seems a definitive ruling is far from being drawn.
However, should Google lose its case down the road, Bernstein's report lays down two likely scenarios for Apple:
- It could partner with another company and move to another default search engine
- It could offer a choice screen which could prompt the company to launch its own search engine
In the trial held in September, it was also revealed that Microsoft considered selling Bing to Apple in 2020. If it had pushed through, Bing would've become the default search engine on Apple devices instead of Google.
Edited by Nikola Djuric