Apple May Have Received Billions To Make Google Its Default Search Engine

That’s more than three billion chicken sandwiches from Popeyes.

Google paid big bucks to get noticed. Credit: Photo by Didem Mente/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Google seems scared.

The tech giant really wants people to use it as their default search engine — so much so that it might have been willing to pay for it.

According to the US v. Google federal antitrust trial against the company reported by CNBC, Google paid $26.3 billion to be the default search engine on web and mobile browsers in 2021. That’s the cost of more than two million Rolex watches. With $26 billion, you could purchase multiple professional sports teams, fund significant scientific research projects, or support massive infrastructure development in a country. If you spent $1 per second, it would take you over 820 years to spend $26 billion.

The Verge did the math and, if you look at how much money Google makes in ad revenue, which would likely be one of the main reasons to push it as the default search engine, the platform is spending 16 percent of its search revenue and 29 percent of its profit to get this done. Remarkably, $26.3 billion is just 1.7 percent of Google’s total market cap. It’s also half of what Elon Musk bought Twitter, now X, for, which feels like another L for Musk.

It’s unclear how much money Google paid specific companies and partners to be the default search engine on its platforms, but CNBC reported that Apple likely received a pretty big piece of the pie. Google could pay Apple as much as $19 billion, CNBC reported in a separate piece.

Google, of course, would probably have preferred these numbers to stay secret. Now everyone knows exactly how much their default settings are worth — more than three billion chicken sandwiches from Popeyes.

Christianna Silva is a Senior Culture Reporter at Mashable. They write about tech and digital culture, with a focus on Facebook and Instagram. Before joining Mashable, they worked as an editor at NPR and MTV News, a reporter at Teen Vogue and VICE News, and as a stablehand at a mini-horse farm. You can follow them on Twitter @christianna_j.

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