There’s always been plenty of speculation around how much Google pays Apple to include its search services inside iOS devices, and we finally have some clarity over that figure. Information raised as part of an ongoing legal case between Oracle and Google shows the search firm compensated Apple to the tune of $1 billion in 2014.
As part of a five-year case against Google’s apparent use of Oracle’s Java technology, a court heard that “at one point in time the revenue share [between Apple and Google] was 34 percent,” according to a Bloomberg report. The specifics of that comment are unclear — we don’t know if that figure is what Google kept, or what it paid to Apple — but there does seem to be some truth behind it since both Apple and Google are submitting filings to have the quote redacted and sealed from public view.
“The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple. Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential,” Bloomberg reports a filing from Google as saying.
Beyond shining light on a very sensitive deal, the disclosure is interesting because it shows two things. The value that Google places on its rivals’ platforms to boost its search business and, second, that Apple draws revenue from Google’s advertising-based business model despite Apple CEO Tim Cook having made numerous public statements criticizing companies that make money from using personal data.
Speaking at EPIC’s Champions of Freedom event in Washington last summer, Cook said:
I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.
There is, of course, a response that Apple uses Google services to provide best-in-class features and options for its customers. Although Apple has used Microsoft’s Bing for Siri-related search services in iOS for some time.
Another factoid thrown up by the case included a claim that Android has generated $31 billion in annual revenue to date, of which $22 billion is profit.