Google has agreed to pay Samsung nearly $2 billion per year over four years, totaling a massive $8 billion, to remain the preset default search engine on all Samsung Galaxy smartphones, according to revealing testimony presented in an ongoing antitrust trial.
The deal ensures that Google’s search engine and array of apps will continue to be preinstalled on Samsung’s widely popular Galaxy devices, which account for over half of all revenue from Google’s Play app store.
The testimony came from a high-ranking Google executive under questioning in the Epic Games v. Google trial taking place in a San Francisco federal courthouse. Epic, maker of the hugely popular Fortnite game, alleges that Google engages in monopolistic practices in the Android app market in order to boost profits through commissions as high as 30% on all purchases made within apps.
Google maintains it is merely competing against Apple’s proprietary app store dominance. However, Google and Apple were both entangled in a major antitrust lawsuit filed in September over the billions that Google pays Apple annually to remain the preset default search engine on iPhones.
Epic’s attorneys allege Google engages in bullying and bribery to block and discourage competitors in the search and app markets. Evidence presented indicates Google offered Samsung $200 million over four years to make a competing Samsung Galaxy Store available only within the Google Play Store, rather than preinstalled on all Galaxy devices. That proposal was ultimately abandoned in favor of the richer long-term deal cementing Google’s search supremacy on Android.
The high-stakes Epic trial is expected to continue through the end of 2022 and directly targets Google Play’s allegedly monopolistic control over the distribution of apps on devices running Android. Google maintains it faces legitimate competition from Apple, but both tech giants are now embroiled in overlapping search engine and app store disputes. With the titans of tech battling over dominance over search and apps, additional antitrust suits and revelations seem imminent.