A new class-action antitrust suit alleges that Apple has an agreement with Google that it will not develop its own search engine as the search engine giant pays to remain the default option in Safari. The suit also alleges the two companies have been sharing profits made from advertising revenue and Apple has been giving the search engine giant preferential treatment on its devices.
Apple is being paid by Google to stay out of the search engine market
Filed in a California court against Apple, Google, and the company’s respective CEOs, the suit alleges the two companies have a non-compete agreement that is in violation of antitrust laws in the United States.
The suit also alleges that the two companies have a secret agreement in which Google shares its profits with the Cupertino tech giant if it is given preferential treatment on devices like Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The complaint specifically claims that Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai have been participating in “regular secret meetings” in which they conspire to work together and suppress smaller competitors.
The class action further alleges that Google pays Apple annual multi-billion-dollar payments based on Apple upholding an agreement that it will not launch its own search engine to compete with the company. The arrangement also includes plans to crush smaller competitors and acquire any potential competitors.
In addition, the complaint also claims that advertising rates are higher than in a competitive system because of the alleged collusion. The lawsuit seeks the halt of the billion-dollar payments of Google to Apple. It also seeks an injunction prohibiting the non-compete agreement between the two companies, the preferential treatment and wants a mandate that prevents both companies from sharing the profits generated by the advertising rates.
Finally, the complaint calls for “the breakup of Google into separate and independent companies and the breakup of Apple into separate and independent companies in accordance with the precedent of the breakup of Standard Oil company into Exxon, Mobile, Conoco, Amoco, Sohio, Chevron, and others.”
The Standard Oil Company formed a monopoly in the oil business through anticompetitive acts which violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. The United States Supreme Court in 1911 ruled that the company should be geographically divided into separate companies.
There have only been a few documented meetings between the company’s CEOs in person over the last decade. In addition, both companies say that payments are for Google to be the standard search engine on iOS, and users can select other engines if they wish to.