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Did Google Pay Apple Billions To Stay Out Of Search Engines?

A class action suit alleges that Google has shelled out billions of dollars to Apple in a clandestine deal that saw Google become the default search engine on all Apple products, as well as agreeing not to develop a search engine of its own.

“These meetings were undertaken to promote the shared vision that Apple and Google would act in effect as one company that was merged without merging,” the suit explains.

“Apple and Google invented the word ‘co-opetitive’ to describe their unlawful combination and conspiracy.”

The suit names Apple, Google, Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai as defendants, but doesn’t mention a specific dollar amount. Recordings taken at the meetings suggest the figure may be north of A$69 billion.

“Google has long recognised that its competitors will not be able to compete without adequate scale,” the suit explains

“The agreement between Apple and Google suppresses the ability of Google’s competitors to achieve any scale of significance to be able to compete against Google. That economic prohibition would be eliminated if the agreement between Apple and Google were dissolved.”

The plaintiff has requested the court “eradicate the structure and size that were abused to commit these violations”, which, if successful, would be both companies broken into smaller businesses. 

This would be a landmark decision.

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