Apple executive Eddie Cue testifies at Google trial about $19 billion search deal


  • Apple’s senior vice president of services, Eddie Cue, is expected to testify in federal court on Tuesday, where the US Justice Department is accusing Google of using licensing agreements to establish a monopoly on online search.
  • Q is expected to testify that Apple chose the Google search engine as the iPhone default because it was the best product.
  • According to sources familiar with Cue’s anticipated testimony, he is also expected to say that Apple sees no reason to create a new Apple search engine because Google already exists.

Eddie Cue, senior vice president of services at Apple Inc.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | getty images

Apple’s senior vice president of services Eddie Cue is expected to testify all day Tuesday in federal court, where the U.S. Justice Department is accusing Google of using licensing agreements to establish a monopoly on online search.

Under investigation is a deal in which Google pays Apple billions of dollars to become the default search engine on the iPhone’s browser and other settings. According to an estimate by Bernstein, Google could pay Apple as much as $19 billion this year.

Cue, who negotiated the deal with Google on Apple’s behalf, is expected to testify that Apple chose the Google search engine as the iPhone default because it was the best product. According to a person familiar with Cue’s anticipated testimony, he is also expected to say that Apple sees no reason to create a new Apple search engine because Google already exists.

According to a person familiar with Cue’s anticipated testimony, Cue will also say that Apple has revenue-sharing agreements with competing search engines Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo and Ecosia, and that Apple users can change their default search engine.

The testimony could shed some light on one of the most high-profile deals in the technology industry, which has been shrouded in secrecy for the past decade. The money Google pays Apple for default placement is one of its largest costs, and the advertising revenue Apple collects from Google is a large portion of Apple’s profits.

Apple reports its payments from Google as advertising revenue reported in its Services business, which had total sales of $78.1 billion in Apple’s fiscal year 2022.

When asked about using Google as the iPhone’s default search engine in 2018, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “I think their search engine is the best.”

Much of Cue’s testimony and related financial documents may remain under seal, meaning they will not be released to the public.

Last week, Apple machine learning executive John Giannandrea testified. Before Apple, he worked at Google on its search engine.

D.C. District Court Judge Amit Mehta has said he wants to be conservative about how many documents are released to the public, and Giannandrea’s testimony last week was sealed in its entirety except for 15 minutes. , where Giannandrea revealed a new search engine setting. Latest iPhone operating system.

The DOJ previously had a page on its website where it posted documents and exhibits from the trial, and it was removed last week at Google’s request.

The Google trial, which is expected to last 10 weeks, is the largest technology monopoly trial since the DOJ took over Microsoft more than 20 years ago. The DOJ alleges that Google violated antitrust laws by making exclusive agreements with mobile phone makers and browser companies for default placement of its Android operating system. The government alleges that this practice creates barriers to entry for competing search engines.

“This case is about the future of the Internet and whether Google’s search engine will ever face meaningful competition,” DOJ attorney Kenneth Dintzer told the court in opening statements. He alleged that Google has more than 89% of the general search market.

Google said earlier this month before the trial began that it viewed licensing agreements as a standard business practice that brings its products to consumers and creates a better experience for users. Google also argues that consumers can easily change the default search engine on Android and Apple phones.

The DOJ is expected to present its case in about four weeks, then a coalition of attorneys general will present their case, followed by Google. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is also expected to testify, the DOJ said.

CNBC’s Steve Kovach contributed to this story.

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