How Google Dominates The Internet, With The Help Of Apple, Its Most Vicious Adversary

Google is one big tech company, one of the very few capable of rewriting the rule book.

For many reasons for most people, Google is the most powerful, most capable, the most reliable, and the most undisputed ubiquitous search engine the web has even seen.

When it was first launched back in 1998 by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as "BackRub", its original mission was “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

It also has an unofficial “Don’t be evil” motto, a phrase which appears on its Code of Conduct page for employees and investors.

This unofficial motto however, was dropped in 2015 when Google’s created its parent company, Alphabet.

But this is not how Google the search engine is technically capable of earning the top position of the food chain.

As a company, it's its way of persuading even its most vicious adversary to be at its aid, that actually helped it dominate the web and beyond.

Apple - Google

Apple, founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, has been around much longer than Google.

It has been in the tech business, famously by competing against Microsoft.

Back in the 1980s, Jobs was angry when Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and at the times Microsoft's CEO, adopted Apple's graphical user interface for Windows and then licensed the operating system to Dell, IBM and some other PC makers.

This gave Microsoft the undisputed dominance in the PC market.

Quickly, Microsoft managed to conquer almost all of the PC market, and also the web with its Internet Explorer. With its monopoly and one day, after a a positive stock market trading, Bill Gates became the modern world's first centibillionaire.

Microsoft aside, Steve Jobs was also not hostile with Google, just like in the early days of Microsoft.

In 2005, Apple and Google inked a deal, which allowed Google to be the default search engine on Apple’s Safari browser on Mac computers.

In 2007, Jobs was photographed visiting Google's office, and had lunch with Page and Eric Schmidt. During those days, Larry Page and Sergey Brin saw Jobs as their mentor, and that they would take long walks with him to discuss the future of technology.

But when Android came out, the late Apple co-founder watched history repeated itself. Android, the brainchild of Andy Rubin, made Jobs furious of Google.

Apple's products were "almost copied verbatim by Android," as biographer Walter Isaacson explained. "And then they license it around promiscuously. And then Android starts surpassing Apple in market share, and this totally infuriated him," the author added.

"It wasn't a matter of money. [Jobs] said: 'You can't pay me off, I'm here to destroy you.'"

Google started becoming a direct competitor to Apple since the advent of Android, which was Google's answer to the original iPhone.

Photos of Steve Jobs having with Larry and Eric at Google's office.
Photos of Steve Jobs having a meal with Larry and Eric at Google's office. (Credit: Jason Shellen/Twitter)

Jobs famously said:

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

But in Silicon Valley, things that go uneasy and nerve-wrecking, can sometimes lead to an outcome that benefits both parties.

“We have this sort of strange term in Silicon Valley: co-opetition,” said Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel from 2009 to 2017. “You have brutal competition, but at the same time, you have necessary cooperation.”

One of the examples, was when Jobs was angry at Gates for copying Apple.

Jobs couldn't deny that Apple may not have survived without Microsoft's help. In 1997, Microsoft helped Apple during its brink of bankruptcy, inking a deal that among others, included an investment of $150 million from Microsoft to Apple.

At that time, Jobs couldn't be happier.

It was since that time that Apple and Microsoft became "frenemies".

And with Google, a similar thing happened.

Apple, despite being the vicious competitor to Google, continued accepting Google's money so Google can become the default search engine on Apple's products.

Sundari Pichai photographed dining with Tim Cook
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai (left), photographed with Apple CEO Tim Cook (right) in 2017 at Tamarine Restaurant & Gallery, a Vietnamese restaurant in Palo Alto, California, U.S.. (Credit: Steve D. Sims/Twitter)

Tim Cook once said that those that conduct internet advertising, a primary business for Google, engages in "surveillance". Even though Steve Jobs once promised a "thermonuclear war" on Google, Apple has learned that working with Google is actually beneficial.

So here, it can be seen that while Apple and Google are enemies down to the flesh in the mobile industry, they are joined at the hip.

Apple and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, compete in plenty of fields. But the two know that a deal can help calm the nerves, and make the two happy.

With the deal, Apple users use Google as the default search engine. As a result of this, around half of Google Search's traffic comes from Apple devices. With the deal, Google is making a lot of money from Apple users, as they see the search ads that drive Google’s business.

They can also find their way to other Google products, like YouTube.

It was previously stated that Google made a deal with Apple back in 2005. At that time the former was paying the latter a sum of money that may not mean anything too much. This deal in 2014 however, famously broke the $1 billion record.

In 2017, Apple received $12 billion, accounting for 14 to 21 percent of its annual profits.

So although Apple often portrays itself as a company that values users' privacy and wants to keep Google under control when running on its platform, the billions of dollars Google is offering every year, isn't something that Apple would be eager to walk away from.

The two companies are competitors in Silicon Valley, but the agreement is like "an unlikely union of rivals."

The deal seems like a win-win situation. But for others that aren't Google and Apple, the deal is an antitrust lawsuit-attracting duopoly.

The U.S. Department of Justice has for many occasions sets its eyes on both Google and Apple.

As two of the largest and most influential tech companies, the two have been known to either buy competitors to eliminate the competition, or create new things on their own by taking cues from the competition. And this deal between Google and Apple, has been described by the Department of Justice, as "terrifying" and a "code red" scenario.

Google's search traffic is integral to its business model due to its system of ads. And Apple here is helping it keep its goal.

The Justice Department has a complaint that cites a senior Apple employee's remark back 2018 which said that "our vision is that we work as if we are one company."

Governments have been trying to break companies apart, if they see them too big, or advise them to merge, when possible, and if that will allow a fairer competition.

Apple's iPhone defaults Google as the search engine on Safari
What seems to be a simple option to choose a default search engine on the Safari web browser, is an option worth billions of dollars.

But this Google-Apple deal, is said to be illegal tactics to protect their duopoly by choke off competition in web search.

The two can do this, simply because Apple knows that other search engines won't be able to pay as much money as Google.

DuckDuckGo for example. The small search engine that is the privacy-focused alternative to Google, could never compete with the amount Google is offering Apple.

This is why DuckDuckGo isn't anywhere near the top of Apple's list of search engines for Safari.

And as for Bing, the search engine from Microsoft, does have the money. But in 2017, it was said that Apple was not satisfied with Bing’s performance.

According to The New York Times that reported it, this is where Apple plays its card. Cook who wanted Apple to double its services revenue, knew that it's only Google that can help it achieve that goal.

This deal between Google and Apple, which was first initiated back in 2005, isn't frequently in the headlines.

This is unfortunate, considering that the special relationship is a union that literally controls the commercialization of the internet.