Search engine providers have a history of paying substantial sums of money to popular web browsers just so they can be the default search engine on them. Yahoo’s $300 million deal made it the default search engine on Mozilla’s Firefox but it was later outbid by Google. Safari, even though it’s only for Apple’s devices, is a widely used browser given the sheer number of products Apple has shipped. Google is the default search engine on that browser as well and that deal apparently costs the Mountain View company $9 billion.
Google and Apple have never publicly talked about the terms of their deal which gives the former the much sought after position of being the default search engine on Safari. It’s not uncommon for details to leak out once every few years.
A lawsuit between Google and Oracle back in 2014 had led to the revelation that this deal was worth around $1 billion at that time. That figure was based on ad revenue that was earned from searches on iPhones. It’s unclear whether that’s how the figure is calculated right now or if the terms of the deal have changed.
Goldman Sachs estimates that Google may be paying as much as $9 billion to Apple just to be the default search engine on Safari. They expect this number to surge to around $12 billion in 2019.
“We believe this revenue is charged ratably based on the number of searches that users on Apple’s platform originate from Siri or within the Safari browser,” explained a representative of the investment firm.