Apple Inc., which has been using Alphabet Inc.’s Google as the default search engine for its devices, had talks to use the search engine DuckDuckGo for the private mode on Apple’s Safari browser, Bloomberg reported citing some court documents.
However, the tech major ultimately rejected the idea, the report said.
The details of those talks now emerged amid an ongoing legal fight between the US Department of Justice and tech major Google over allegations of abusing its search dominance and violating antitrust laws.
Earlier, it was reported that Microsoft Corp. was in talks with Apple in 2020 for a possible sale of its Bing search engine, but the talks never reached an advanced stage.
Bloomberg reported that the talks among Apple, DuckDuckGo, and Microsoft were revealed in transcripts unsealed by US District Judge Amit Mehta, who oversees the Google antitrust trial.
Mehta unsealed the testimony of DuckDuckGo Chief Executive Officer Gabriel Weinberg and Apple executive John Giannandrea, who testified in closed sessions in the trial.
According to Weinberg, DuckDuckGo in 2018 and 2019 had about 20 meetings and phone calls with Apple executives, including the Safari head, regarding becoming the default search engine for private browsing mode on the Safari browser.
Weinberg noted that Apple had integrated several of DuckDuckGo’s other privacy technologies into Safari.
Meanwhile, Giannandrea said that Apple hadn’t considered switching to DuckDuckGo, to his knowledge.
Google is Apple devices’ default search engine. It was in 2002 that both companies signed their partnership, which was extended in 2021. Cue is said to be behind the current search engine partnership.
Google reportedly pays more than $10 billion every year to secure its default search engine status on millions of browsers and mobile devices.
The antitrust trial features testimony from top executives from Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung.
In its testimony against Google, Apple reportedly made it clear that it has never thought to replace Google as the default on iPhones as there wasn’t a valid alternative at that time.
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