Google paid Apple $1bn (£703m) in 2014 to keep its search bar on Apple's iOS device (iPhone and iPad), an attorney revealed in federal court in San Francisco. The money is part of a Google agreement with Apple that grants the device-maker a percentage of revenue generated through search, an attorney for Oracle Corporation said in court on 14 January.
Oracle is suing Google for copyright infringement over claims that the search engine company used Oracle's Java software in the creation of Android without compensation. Bloomberg managed to find and report the information before Google and Apple rushed to have the court records sealed, and apparently succeeded. Neither Google nor Apple have commented on the payment.
Oracle attorney Annette Hurst said the revenue sharing came to light during a pre-trial interview with a Google employee, who said "at one point in time" the share was 34%. It was unclear if that meant Google gave Apple 34% or retained 34%.
Google's attorney immediately attempted to have the information sealed, saying: "That percentage just stated, that should be sealed. That's not a publicly known number." A magistrate later denied the request, but Google then filed a motion asking US District Judge William Alsup to seal and redact the transcript, saying the disclosure could severely affect its ability to negotiate similar agreements with other companies.
"The specific financial terms of Google's agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple," Google said in its filing on 20 January. "Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential."
The transcript vanished from electronic court records on 21 January, though there was no indication that the court ruled on Google's request to seal it.
The money is an indication of the value Google places on a rival's platform to boost its search business. It is also revealing in that it underscores how Apple draws revenue from Google advertising even though Apple CEO Tim Cook has criticised companies — like Google — that make money from using personal data to fuel advertising.
In the same court case that revealed the Apple-Google relationship, Oracle has alleged that Google has made $22bn (£15bn) in profit to date from the Android operating system.