Apple may have a secret arrangement with Google Chrome, according to a report by The Register (via AppleInsider). The report claims that Google has been paying Apple search revenues generated through Chrome in order to discourage the tech giant from launching a rival system. This revelation was discovered in UK regulator documents, which were released in June 2021. However, it appears that references to Chrome on iOS have been redacted from the report.
It’s been rumored for a while that Apple is developing its own search engine to rival Google. It seems that Google’s secret payments to Apple could be the reason why Apple has not yet launched its own search engine.
The report indicates that Apple has been receiving a significant share of the revenue generated by Google Search traffic on Safari and Chrome on iOS devices. Although it’s unclear how much Google pays Apple due to Chrome, it’s been reported that Google pays Apple around $15 billion annually as the default search engine on iPhones.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has not officially commented on the report, but The Register’s presumption is that the redacted information in the report refers to Chrome on iOS. The CMA has expressed concern that Google’s revenue-sharing arrangement with Apple may dampen incentives for competition between browsers on iOS.
It’s worth noting that neither Apple nor Google has commented on the matter. However, if the report is accurate, it suggests that Google and Apple have been quietly working together to stifle competition. This could be a significant issue, particularly as both companies face scrutiny from regulators around the world for their market dominance.