Google paid a hefty amount of $1 billion to Apple to keep its search bar on the iPhone in 2014. The revelation comes from a transcript of court proceedings from Oracle’s copyright lawsuit against the Internet firm, says a report from Bloomberg.
Apple, Google and a secret deal
On Jan. 14 during a federal court hearing, Oracle’s attorney said the search giant has an agreement with Apple under which the former was required to give the iPhone maker a percentage of the revenue generated through the Apple device. Rumors regarding the amount Google is required to pay Apple to be on the iPhone have been doing the rounds for several years, but the companies never disclosed it publicly.
Google’s revenue sharing agreement with Apple indicates that the Internet firm is required to do a lot to make sure people make use of its search tool on mobile devices. It also reveals that Google’s advertising-based business model helps Apple see financial benefits that CEO Tim Cook has criticized as an intrusion of privacy.
Oracle and Google have been in a legal battle since 2010, with the former claiming that the search giant developed Android using its Java software but made no payments for it. Previously, Google lost a bid to derail the case. Now Oracle might seek damages exceeding $1 billion since it has covered newer Android versions in its expanded claims.
Oracle’s attorney, Annette Hurst, disclosed the details of the Google-Apple agreement last week at a court hearing, saying that they questioned a Google witness during pretrial discovery who revealed that the revenue share was 34% at one point. However, the transcript did not mention whether that percentage is the amount that Google retains or pays to Apple. A Google attorney was against the disclosure of information and even made an attempt to have the judge remove the mention of 34% from the record.
The transcript says that lawyer Robert Van Nest said, “That percentage just stated, that should be sealed. We are talking hypotheticals here. That’s not a publicly known number.” The magistrate judge presiding over the hearing didn’t approve Google’s request to block the sensitive information in the transcript from public review.
According to Bloomberg, the transcript disappeared from the electronic court records at about 3 p.m. Pacific time “with no indication that the court ruled on Google’s request to seal it.”