How Much Google Pays Apple to Give it Prime Placement

This deal, and plenty more like it, are the crux of the US Department of Justice's anti-trust case against Google.

You've no doubt heard that the search giant has come under the spotlight in recent days and is being pursued by the US authorities for anti-competitive behaviour.


What you may not know is that Russian antitrust enforcers pursued something like this case in 2014, forcing Google to stop leveraging Android into mobile search dominance. It worked; Russia’s search market is competitive, the only place in the world where enforcers were able to take apart Google’s monopoly.


Today, the US government is saying that Google is using 'nefarious' deals to get its search engine in front of consumers so rivals – like Bing or DuckDuckGo – never get a chance to compete. And, to give OGN readers a 'cut to the chase' of what the anti-trust case is about, here it is:


The most important way to distribute search engines is to be the preset default general search engine on a device; most consumers simply never change their defaults. To take advantage of this dynamic, Google has agreements with mobile phone companies like Apple and Samsung, wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon, and browser companies like Mozilla to gain default status for Google. These agreements include large payments - Apple reportedly gets over $12bn a year - so Google gets prime placement. Some of these agreements also include specific prohibitions to distribute the apps of its competitors. The case alleges that these agreements, which cover 60% of the general search market, are illegal.


The good news is that, if you believe that market competition is a positive force, then this case against Google is a worthy cause.


The DOJ has not yet said what remedy it wants, but it could force Google and its parent, Alphabet, to change how they structure their business. Don’t hold your breath, though: Google dismisses the suit as nonsense, so the case could drag on for years.