The antitrust case against Google in the US resumed as the company CEO Sundar Pichai testified defending its decision to pay Apple billions to make Search as the default engine on iPhones. During Pichai’s testimony, it was revealed that the tech giant wanted Apple to preinstall Search app on every iOS device.
Citing notes from a meeting, The Verge reported that Pichai floated this idea to Apple CEO Tim Cook in late 2018. Cook told Pichai he wanted to be “deep, deep partners, deeply connected where our services end and yours begin”. Pichai responded with a proposal: What if Apple preinstalled a Google Search app on every iOS device?
Apple did not agree as it does not preload third-party software on its devices.
Why the deal was important
If Apple had agreed to the deal, iPhones may have got a Search app and a native widget because the Google app and widget were popular on Android as it drove people to search more. Hence, just like on Android, more searches on iPhones or iPads would mean more revenue for Apple. Pichai reportedly said that Google would maintain the built-in Google service for 20 years.
“We said one of the things that works well on Android, which drives increased usage, is a Google Search application. So I proposed that we could build a Google search application for iOS… and we would be committed to supporting the product for many years,” Pichai said.
Pichai, Cook meet once a year
Pichai also said that he and Cook met about once a year to talk about the state of their deal.
According to notes by partnerships executive Don Harrison, “When discussing how to encourage search, [Pichai] spoke about the fact that this is what we do — people trust us to get this right and trust us with the content of what they are searching for — and weaved in them considering us building an app or other experience that people associate with us and connect to us (vs. flowing through Siri/suggest.) Tim listened but did not react to this specifically other than noting we had different strengths.”
The company later also highlighted that “Google is not in control of the amount or type of traffic received by Safari; Apple is.”
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