Google paid $36b to be default search engine in 2021: Bloomberg News

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CALIFORNIA – Alphabet’s Google paid US$26.3 billion (S$36 billion) to other companies in 2021 to ensure its search engine was the default on web browsers and mobile phones, a top company executive testified during the Justice Department’s antitrust trial, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

The amount of payments Google made for the default status has more than tripled since 2014, according to senior executive Prabhakar Raghavan who is responsible for both search and advertising, the report added.

Google’s revenue from search advertising came in at US$146.4 billion in 2021, while the payments for the default setting were its biggest cost, Raghavan was mentioned as saying in the Bloomberg report.

Google declined to comment on the testimony when contacted by Reuters.

The company has argued the revenue share agreements are legal and that it has invested to keep its search and advertising businesses competitive. It has also argued that if people are dissatisfied with defaults that they can, and do, switch to another search provider.

Google had objected to revealing the numbers, saying they would harm the company’s ability to negotiate contracts in the future. Judge Amit Mehta, who is overseeing the case, ruled that the numbers should be disclosed, the report added. REUTERS

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