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Apple may get a secret slice of Google Chrome’s search profits

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A UK regulator appears to have discovered, but then redacted, that Google was paying Apple’s search revenue generated through Chrome in order to discourage it from launching a competing platform.

It has been regularly rumored that Apple is working on its own search engine to rival Google. It seems like it might be in the best interests of the company not to do so.

according to logGoogle pays Apple a portion of the revenue it gets from people searching through the Google Chrome iOS app. This is on top of the officially recognized search revenue paid out by Google, and is said to be a concern of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

CMA did not mention this, and logHis report is based on UK regulator documents released in June 2021. These documents included redacted information, and the assumption made by the publication, is that what has been removed are references to Chrome on iOS.

Apple receives a significant share of revenue from Google’s search traffic on Safari and [x] on iOS devices,” reads one paragraph in the CMA report.

It is not clear why the British regulator did not disclose what it supposedly disclosed during the investigation, but there are three sections where it does. They include one on why this is all a concern for the CMA.

Given this profit share, when [x] Or Safari succeeds in competing for an iOS user where, instead of winning a full share of search traffic revenue, it only wins a partial share (that is, profits to which it was not previously due), “says the CMA.” This profit-sharing arrangement thus reduces incentives for competition between browsers on iOS.”

Whatever the source of revenue sharing actually is, the CMA argues that the money means Apple has more incentive to stay where it is than to create a competitor.

There are no details as to how much Google may pay Apple for Google Chrome. However, it has previously been reported that the well-known deal about it being the default search engine on iPhones would likely mean Google paying Apple up to $15 billion annually.

Neither Google nor Apple has commented.