Google may be paying Apple billions of dollars to remain the default search engine on the iPhone and iPad, according to investment research company Bernstein, and the total figure may have tripled over the past three years.
Apple could receive $3b from Google this year, in return for the coveted default search engine spot on Apple’s mobile devices, up from the $1b it charged in 2014. The 2014 cost was detailed in court documents, while the $3b payout is Bernstein analysts own estimate.
Describing the payment as, “nearly all profit for Apple,” Bernstein says the Google licensing fee could make up 5% of Apple’s 2017 total operating profit, and 25% of its operating profit growth since 2015. It works both ways. The analyst estimates search on Apple devices represents 50% of Google’s own revenue from the service.