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Google Paid Apple $1 Billion to be the Default Search Engine in Safari

by Brandon Russell | March 9, 2012March 9, 2012 12:00 pm PST

Apple GoogleThe two may be in competition year round, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do a little business on the side as well. According to Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter, Apple made $1 billion off Google in 2011 just by having it as the default search engine in Safari. With the iPhone, iPad and, to a lesser extent, Mac lines getting more popular by the day, it would seem like a no-brainer for Apple to continue its agreement with Google. But many are wondering if the Cupertino-based company might soon look elsewhere.

Much ado has been made about Apple ditching Google Maps in its new iPhoto application, and folks are starting to contemplate whether the move signals what’s to come. If Apple were to seek out an alternative – perhaps Bing or Yahoo! – losing an easy $1 billion would hardly do damage to the company’s bottom line. In average Joe terms, that’s like losing a dollar. So who would come off worse if Apple does ditch Google as its default search? Probably neither.

When the numbers are crunched, Schachter believes Google makes roughly $335 million in net revenue from searches in Safari, hardly anything in Google-world. So, financially it wouldn’t do damage to either company; but BusinessInsider still feels that Google would come out worse off.

“In the long run, though, it could hurt Google since the iPad appears to be taking over the world,” said BusinessInsider. “If the iPad overtakes the PC in the next 5 years and it becomes the number one way people are searching, then Google will be in trouble.”

BusinessInsider seems to be ignoring the fact that Android actually has the bigger market share compared to iOS, while its own web browser, Chrome, is currently the number one used desktop browser in the world – and there’s a mobile Chrome on the way. It’s interesting to consider – and crazy to think that just a few simple web searches equals such insane dollar amounts. But a future breakup between the two companies may not be as devastating as one might think.

[via Business Insider]

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...