In September, Goldman Sachs estimated that almost $9 billion dollar revenue is coming to Apple from Google for being the built-in search engine on Apple’s Safari web browsers. Till then, Apple had never talked about its revenue stream from Google. However, last week, Tim Cook, CEO, Apple participated in an interview by Axios on HBO. In the interview, he was asked if he agreed of taking billion dollars from Google. He casually replied to the question stating, “I think their (Google’s) search engine is the best”. He also admitted that Apple-Google partnership was not “perfect.”
He further defended Apple’s multi-billion dollar deal with Google search by talking about the additional security measures that Apple has added to Safari to “help” users better navigate the Google search engine. These include private web browsing and an intelligent tracker prevention.
He stated in the interview, “Look at what we’ve done with the controls we’ve built in. We have private web browsing. We have an intelligent tracker prevention, What we’ve tried to do is come up with ways to help our users through their course of the day. It’s not a perfect thing. I’d be the very first person to say that. But it goes a long way to helping.”
Apple has been quite vocal about not selling targeted advertisements based on user information. Cook has criticized Google, Facebook, and other social media platforms for mishandling user privacy. He has claimed that Apple’s business model depends on selling hardware such as smartphones and tablets and that they are very particular about user privacy.
Last month, Cook had also given a speech at a privacy conference in Brussels where he mentioned his concerns on privacy in various social media platforms. He had also called for new digital privacy laws in the United States. His concerns involved, users’ personal data collection by companies, data manipulation, and lack of surveillance.
People on the internet are not much in favor of this news. Twitter users are raising eyebrows on Cook’s casual statement and the fact they are taking millions of dollars from Google even if they disagree with its policies in the first place.
Apple: This market failure is happening completely outside of our control and we need regulation to fix it
Also Apple: We’re paid to put Google in front of millions of Internet users but don’t worry about it
— Brian Fung (@b_fung) November 19, 2018
Yes Tim, this behavior is not what @Apple and you stand for. Quite disappointing.
— Christian Ring (@christianring) November 19, 2018
Apple was previously using Bing as its default browser in 2017. However, the company switched to Google because it faced consistency issues with Bing. It’s still not sure if the main reason to switch to Google was the company’s expectations of consistent results or the multi-billion deal!
You can see a snippet of Tim Cook’s interview on Axios.