Google’s antitrust case infographic
Graphic shows key dates in Googles 18-year deal with Apple.


Google’s trustbusting case

By Duncan Mil

September 11, 2023 - The U.S. Justice Department is taking Google to court over allegations that a secretive partnership worth billions of dollars in its massive search business freezes out competitors and violates antitrust laws.

The Department of Justice’s case against Alphabet Inc.’s search titan is the first test of Silicon Valley’s dominance since a landmark decision against Microsoft over 20 years ago.

Since 2005, Google has paid Apple billions of dollars to be the default search engine on its Safari web browser, a deal that’s raised eyebrows about the relationship between the two most influential companies in Silicon Valley.

“Our vision is that we work as if we are one company,” wrote a senior Apple employee to a Google counterpart following a 2018 meeting between Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook, the chief executives of Google and Apple, to help make the pact more profitable.

That email is just one potentially damning communication, part of the DoJ’s antitrust case against Google, which the government accuses of freezing out competitors through deals like the one it has with Apple.

The DoJ accuses Google of paying billions of dollars to maintain its search monopoly through deals with tech rivals, smartphone manufacturers and wireless providers. Google’s 18-year agreement with Apple is the largest. According to analysts Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Apple pocketed an estimated $18 billion in 2022 alone.

“People don’t use Google search because they have to, they use it because they want to,” says Kent Walker, Alphabet’s chief legal officer.

Google likens these search deals to those that food companies make with supermarkets for prime shelf space.

PUBLISHED: 11/09/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images