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Google needs to pay Apple a small fortune to remain the default search engine on iOS

As CNBC first reported, according to a Bernstein analyst, Google could pay as much as $3 billion a year just to remain the default option in Safari. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi starts from a previous court document from 2014 that stated that Google had to pay $1 billion every year to remain the default search engine on iOS back in 2014.

But mobile traffic, as well as iPhone sales, have been growing steadily since then. If you look at Apple’s services revenue, and in particular licensing revenue, as well as Google’s traffic acquisition costs, that number could be around $3 billion right now.

As most users update to the latest version of iOS in just a few months, it doesn’t take long to change the default setting on hundreds of millions of iPhones. Google has no choice but to spend a ton of money to acquire this traffic.

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