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Google paying billions to Apple to remain default search engine in Safari

Google paying billions to Apple to remain default search engine in Safari

Google reportedly pays approximately $1.5bn every year to Apple to remain as its default search engine in mobile Safari in the UK alone

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In a new report from Reuters, UK regulators have begun examining the long-term deal between Apple and Google, with the latter being the default search engine in the mobile Safari browser.

The UK government’s Competition and Markets Authority found that Google pays billions to Apple (approximately $1.5bn) every year to Apple to allow it to be the default search engine option in mobile Safari browsers in the UK alone.

The competition authority’s report stated that the deal creates a significant barrier to entry and expansion for Google’s UK competitors, and has proposed to limit Apple’s ability to make such deals or to give users the option to select their own default search engine when setting up their device for the first time.

It should be noted that the Safari browsers have used Google as its default search engine for years, and thus Google becomes the default search engine on all Apple devices, including the iPhone that is used by hundreds of millions around the world.

Experts believe that this gives Google a competitive advantage that its competitors do not get, and in 2014, documents even revealed that Google pays Apple $1bn annually to be the default search engine on mobile Safari in the US, with this fee expected to have risen since then.

For its part, Apple benefits immensely from such deals, and they total up to $9bn annually, according to some analysts.

Regulators argue that these types of deal hurts competition, despite the lack of competitors to Google in the search market – there are only Microsoft Ping and DuckDuckGo currently as major players – who might not necessarily have the ability to pay huge sums annually to obtain a presence in the iPhone browser.

Also, regulatory bodies in the US and EU have begun to investigate major tech companies, especially after their sheer size eliminated competition from smaller companies.

But the European Union has been tougher on antitrust. Google was fined billions of dollars over the past decade, while it is also currently investigating Apple’s practices within the app store and the fees it imposes on developers.

This story originally appeared on MENA Tech

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