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Apple Executive Eddy Cue to Testify in Google Trial Involving $19 Billion Search Deal

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Apple's Eddy Cue Testifies in Google Trial Over $19 Billion Search Deal

Apple's Senior Vice President of Services, Eddy Cue, is set to testify all day Tuesday in a federal court case where the U.S. Department of Justice accuses Google of using licensing agreements to monopolize online search. At the center of the scrutiny is a deal in which Google pays Apple billions of dollars to be the default search engine on the iPhone's browser and other settings, with an estimated payment of up to $19 billion this year. Cue, who negotiated the deal from Apple's side, is expected to testify that Apple selected Google as the default search engine on the iPhone because it was deemed the best product. He will also emphasize that Apple sees no need to develop its own search engine as Google already exists.

Revealing Revenue-Sharing Agreements and Financial Impact

During his anticipated testimony, Cue will disclose that Apple has revenue-sharing agreements with competing search engines such as Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia. Additionally, he will highlight that Apple users have the ability to change their default search engines. This testimony could shed 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 to Apple for default placement is one of its largest expenses, while the advertising revenue Apple collects from Google plays a significant role in Apple's profits. In fact, Apple reports these payments as advertising revenue, contributing to its services business, which achieved $78.1 billion in sales in Apple's fiscal year 2022.

Sealed Testimony and the Trial's Significance

Although much of Cue's testimony and related financial documents may remain under seal, the implications of his statements could have far-reaching consequences. Last week, Apple's machine learning executive, John Giannandrea, testified in the trial. The D.C. District Court judge, Amit Mehta, has expressed a conservative approach to releasing documents to the public. Notably, the trial is expected to last for 10 weeks and is the most significant technology monopoly case since the Department of Justice's pursuit of Microsoft over 20 years ago. The government alleges that Google's exclusive agreements with mobile phone manufacturers for its Android operating system and browser companies for default placement create barriers to entry for competing search engines. In opening statements, the DOJ's lawyer, Kenneth Dintzer, emphasized that the case revolves around the future of the internet and whether Google's search engine will face meaningful competition. The DOJ claims that Google holds over 89% of the market for general search. Google, on the other hand, argues that licensing agreements are standard business practices that benefit consumers and enhance user experience. They also contend that consumers can easily change their default search engines on both Android and Apple phones. The DOJ is expected to present its case for approximately four weeks, followed by a coalition of attorneys general and then Google. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is also expected to testify, according to the DOJ. (Note: This article was contributed to by Steve Kovach of CNBC.)

Implications of Cue's Testimony on New Business Ventures

Apple's Senior Vice President, Eddy Cue's upcoming testimony in the Google trial over a $19 billion search deal could have significant implications for new businesses. The case, which accuses Google of monopolizing online search through licensing agreements, could potentially reshape the digital landscape.

Impact of Default Search Engine Deals

The deal under scrutiny involves Google paying Apple billions of dollars to be the default search engine on the iPhone. Cue, who negotiated the deal, will testify that Google was chosen for its superior product quality. His testimony could serve as a cautionary tale for new businesses about the importance of product quality in securing lucrative deals.

Revenue-Sharing Agreements and Business Opportunities

Cue's disclosure of Apple's revenue-sharing agreements with other search engines like Yahoo, Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia, could inspire new businesses to explore similar partnerships. Such agreements can provide a significant revenue stream, as evidenced by Apple's $78.1 billion sales in fiscal 2022 from its services business, which includes payments from Google.
Antitrust Concerns and Market Competition
The trial's outcome could have a profound impact on the future of the internet and market competition. If the DOJ's allegations that Google's exclusive agreements create barriers for competing search engines are proven, it could lead to a more level playing field for new businesses. However, Google's counter-argument that licensing agreements are standard business practices that enhance user experience could validate similar strategies for new businesses. Regardless of the outcome, the trial underscores the importance of understanding the regulatory landscape when forming a new business.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/26/apple-exec-eddy-cue-testify-google-trial-about-19-billion-search-deal.html
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