A new class action lawsuit targets Apple and Google for allegedly violating U.S. antitrust laws relating to their business relationships.
Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that Google is paying Apple billions of dollars not only to remain the default search engine on iOS and iPadOS, but also to dissuade Apple from creating its own search engine. According to the class action lawsuit, Google and Apple have agreed to avoid competing in the search engine market in return for large annual awards in favor of Apple.
In addition, the complaint also states that the two companies have entered into a secret deal under which Google must share search data with Apple, in return for preferential treatment in favor of Google on all Apple devices. In essence, these agreements would have resulted in the inability of the competition to compete in the search engine market on iOS and an increase in advertising prices compared to those existing in a competitive system.
The plaintiffs are therefore seeking an injunction that bans the non-compete agreement between Apple and Google, cancels the data-sharing agreement and completely eliminates preferential treatment in favor of Google on Apple devices.
If these secret agreements between the leaders of Apple and Google existed, it is for the moment impossible to know. What we do know is that there have been very few meetings between the CEOs of the two companies over the past decade. Additionally, Apple and Google have always reiterated that payments to Apple are only meant to make Google the default search engine on iOS, but users are free to select others if they wish.
Among other things, Apple still has its own advertising activity on the App Store and its own search engine that it uses for Siri and Spotlight, not accessible from the web.