Google spent $26.3 billion in 2021 to maintain its default search engine status on mobile devices and web browsers, with a significant portion likely directed to Apple for its role as the default search engine on their products, as revealed in a federal antitrust trial.
The U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys accuse Google of leveraging its dominant search position to exclude competitors from vital distribution channels, including Apple’s Safari browser.
Most of the $26.3 billion in partnerships are expected to go to Apple. Previous estimates suggested Google’s annual payment to Apple for the default search could be as high as $19 billion.
Google contends that users still maintain the choice to select their preferred search engine. However, the financial agreements supporting this practice are currently under intense scrutiny within the ongoing antitrust trial.