Sundar Pichai expressed ‘bad optics’ concerns over Google's search engine partnership with Apple
In 2007, as head of the team responsible for the Google Chrome browser, Sundar Pichai had warned about the “bad optics” of Google
Sundar Pichai had raised concerns over Google's search engine partnership with Apple, years before he became the CEO of the company. In 2007 as head of the team responsible for Google’s Chrome browser, Pichai had warned about the “bad optics” of Google. The Justice Department says that Google pays Apple $10 billion to remain the default search engine on Apple devices, including the iPhone.
As per evidence produced by the Justice Department during the ongoing antitrust trial, Pichai sent emails in 2007 to Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, highlighting how the arrangement with Apple could affect user's experience on browsers.
“I know we are insisting on default, but at the same time I think we should encourage them to have Yahoo as a choice in the pull down or some other easy option. I don’t think it is a good user experience nor the optics is great for us to be the only provider in the browser,” wrote Pichai in the email.
The ongoing lawsuit has involved statements from top executives of other tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, and DuckDuckGo sharing their experiences with Alphabet’s search business and competition against it. “It would be a game changer [for Bing] to be a default on Safari," Microsoft’s Satya Nadella had told the court, highlighting the advantage given to Google by Apple.
Meanwhile, Google defends itself in the ongoing trial by arguing that customers choose to use its search engine because it's the best in the business. The company's lawyers have also rejected the allegations that default status plays any big role in its market access. Google's lawyers argue that customers can easily change their search engine with just a few clicks.
Notably, Google has been the default search engine for Apple’s Safari browser since 2002. Google and Apple renegotiated their partnership in 2021.