A Microsoft Corp. executive said the company has tried for years to displace Alphabet Inc.’s Google as the default web browser on iPhones, but that Apple Inc. never seriously considered switching to Microsoft’s Bing and was content to use it as a “bargaining chip” with the search giant.
(Bloomberg) — A Microsoft Corp. executive said the company has tried for years to displace Alphabet Inc.’s Google as the default web browser on iPhones, but that Apple Inc. never seriously considered switching to Microsoft’s Bing and was content to use it as a “bargaining chip” with the search giant.
“Apple is making more money on Bing existing than Bing does,” Mikhail Parakhin, the head of Microsoft’s advertising and web services, testified during the US government’s antitrust trial against Google in Washington. “We are always trying to convince Apple to use our search engine.”
Parakhin, who joined Microsoft in 2019 from Russian search engine Yandex NV, said Microsoft met with Apple as recently as 2021 to discuss a potential switch to Bing, but didn’t make any progress.
In response to Google’s lawyers, Parakhin said it was “uneconomical for Microsoft to invest more” in technology for the mobile search market. “Unless Microsoft gets a more significant, or firmer guarantee of distribution, it makes it uneconomical to invest.”
Apple has used Google as the default search engine in its Safari browser since 2003 in exchange for a share of the advertising revenue earned through searches made on its devices. The US Justice Department alleges that the contract and others like it have allowed Google to illegally maintain its monopoly over the online search market.
Google denies the government’s claim and says users choose its search engine because it is the best one.
The exact amount of money Apple earns from the Google deal is confidential, but the Justice Department said it’s between $4 billion and $7 billion a year. On Tuesday, a top Apple executive testified that the iPhone-maker agreed to “support and defend” the contract with Google in any regulatory challenges including the Justice Department’s lawsuit.
The case is US v. Google, 20-cv-3010, US District Court, District of Columbia.
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