Court documents have revealed that in 2014, Google paid rival Apple Inc. $1 billion to retain its search bar on iPhone devices – a disclosure that came into the open during a court proceeding between Oracle America and Google, Bloomberg reports.
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Oracle Corp had filed a lawsuit against Google in 2010 for allegedly using its Java software to develop Android technology without paying for it.
Oracle is now seeking for over $1 billion in damages since a greater percentage of newer mobile devices in the market today use the Android OS.
Google tried to crush the case at the US Supreme Court and lost, and the case is now in the court of US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco.
According to court transcripts, Google had agreed to pay Apple a portion of revenue that Google generates via the search bar on iPhone devices.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet and Google spokesman Aaron Stein would not speak on the court case or comment on information emerging in court. The truth is that both Google and Apple had never publicized the issue of the search bar agreement, and they would rather it remains secret.
But one thing is clear: it shows how far Google is willing to go to keep people using its search tool on all mobile devices; and the deal also reveals how far Apple is willing to accept compensation from rivals to retain certain products on its devices.
During court proceeding, it was revealed that the “revenue share was 34 percent,” but it is not clear whether this is the amount Google paid to Apple or kept back by Google as revenue from ads generated from iPhone devices.
The mention of this 34% by Oracle attorney, Annette Hurst, angered Google and Apple who obviously did not want it revealed, and they tried to remove this information from court records.
“That percentage just stated, that should be sealed,” said Google’s lawyer Robert Van Nest. “We are talking hypotheticals here. That’s not a publicly known number.”
The judge refused to strike out this 34% information from the records which might be open to public review, and then Google asked that it be redacted and sealed to prevent the information from damaging similar agreements with other organizations.
“The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple,” Google insisted. “Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential.”
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It is not clear whether the magistrate judge struck out the information or sealed it according to Google’s request, but the entire transcript has been removed from electronic court records as at 3 pm PST.