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Business News/ Technology / News/  Google seeks to cut ties with Apple’s Safari amid DOJ Antitrust probe: Report
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Google seeks to cut ties with Apple’s Safari amid DOJ Antitrust probe: Report

Investigation into Google's payments to Apple prompts strategic moves to reduce reliance on Safari browser. Google aims to shift users to its apps to decrease payments to Apple and avoid antitrust issues. Efforts face challenges in persuading users to abandon pre-installed Safari browser.

A recent report from The Information sheds light on Google's strategic moves to reduce its reliance on Apple's Safari browser in anticipation of the antitrust case outcome. (REUTERS)Premium
A recent report from The Information sheds light on Google's strategic moves to reduce its reliance on Apple's Safari browser in anticipation of the antitrust case outcome. (REUTERS)

Google is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department, with its relationship with Apple under scrutiny. The focus of this investigation could include Google’s substantial payments to Apple, estimated at over $20 billion annually, to secure its position as the default search engine on iPhones (via 9To5Mac). This arrangement, according to the Justice Department, restricts competition in the search engine industry. Despite Apple not being a named party in the lawsuit, Apple executives, including Eddy Cue, have provided testimonies.

A recent report from The Information sheds light on Google's strategic moves to reduce its reliance on Apple's Safari browser in anticipation of the antitrust case outcome. Over the years, Google has attempted to shift iPhone users towards its own Google and Chrome apps for search purposes. Although there has been some progress, with the share of searches through these apps rising to the low 30 per cent from 25 per cent five years ago, the momentum stalled in the latter half of last year. This figure remains significantly below Google’s aim of reaching 50 per cent by 2030.

Reportedly, the billions of dollars paid to Apple are part of a revenue-sharing agreement, whereby Apple receives a portion of the advertising revenue from Google searches conducted in Safari. By encouraging users to switch to Chrome and Google apps, Google hopes to decrease its payments to Apple and reduce its exposure to regulatory actions.

However, persuading users to abandon Safari, which comes pre-installed on Apple devices, has proven to be a daunting task. 

The report adds that to spearhead this initiative, Google recently brought on board Robby Stein, a former executive at Instagram and Yahoo. Stein’s mandate includes leveraging generative AI to enhance the appeal of Google’s apps, as disclosed by individuals involved in the effort. Google executives even contemplated limiting its AI Overviews feature, which provides AI-generated search responses, to its own apps. This would have meant that Safari users would miss out on AI Overviews, a move that was ultimately abandoned.

 

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Published: 05 Jul 2024, 09:35 PM IST
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