It’s one of a number of ways that the giants of tech reinforce each other’s core businesses, even as they compete in other areas. Along with the antitrust concerns, the Google-Apple deal allows Apple to claim it is preserving user privacy while still indirectly making money from Google’s customer data harvesting.
This long-standing partnership is one of the most lucrative business agreements in history. Google pays Apple somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion to make its search engine the default on Apple’s iPhone and other Apple devices. This is Google’s single largest yearly outlay and the agreement also accounts for about 20% of Apple’s annual profits.
It’s easy to view these companies as monopolies. It is estimated that the big 5 mega-tech companies are now worth more than $7 trillion. The earnings reports due from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Google-parent Alphabet are anticipated to show that Big Tech unlike other industries is prospering during the pandemic.
Apple and Google respond
Apple CEO Tim Cook defended the Google deal in a 2018 interview on “Axios on HBO.” He claims that “One, I think their search engine is the best. … But, two, look at what we’ve done with the controls we’ve built in. We have private web browsing. We have intelligent tracker prevention. … It’s not a perfect thing. I’d be the very first person to say that. But it goes a long way to helping.”