For years, Google has been the face of Apple’s Safari browser.
But did you know that it could have been something else?
Lest you’re unaware, Google is currently stranded in a messy situation.
Embroiled in a landmark antitrust trial, the tech giant is accused of utilising dishonest, anti-competitive approaches to hog the relevant market. Lucrative contracts with big-name brands such as Apple, for instance, were allegedly established to help Google maintain its monopoly in online search.
Apparently, billions of dollars were paid to Apple and other relevant tech giants to ensure that the default search engine (on browsers and phones) was Google.
During the course of the trial, different testimonies were unearthed. It was during this time that DuckDuckGo’s involvement was unveiled.
Apple Nearly Switched from Google to DuckDuckGo as Their Default Search Engine
It seems that Apple had actually held talks with DuckDuckGo over a possible collaboration on their Safari browser (private mode).
The notion was unveiled when DuckDuckGo chief executive Gabriel Weinberg testified in close court.
Touted as a more private alternative, DuckDuckGo was discussed as a viable alternative to Google on the Safari browser’s private mode.
Apparently, Weinberg’s company had held over 20 meetings with Apple, and initial DuckDuckGo integrations actually got into Safari.
The partnership, however, ultimately did not go all the way.
Meanwhile, Apple SVP of machine learning and AI strategy John Giannandrea, who previously had a role as Google’s head of search, disclosed that he had argued against a potential switch to DuckDuckGo.
According to him, DuckDuckGo’s privacy marketing was “somewhat incongruent” with the given details. It should be noted that DuckDuckGo uses Bing in several areas.
Though the statements were made in closed court, and Apple and Google have both requested them to remain private, they were ultimately “unsealed” as Judge Mehta considered them vital to the case.
A company spokesperson for DuckDuckGo has since indirectly refuted the claim, stating that their search engine puts in effort to block hosting and content providers from “creating a history of your searches”.
Apparently, Microsoft was also in talks with Apple over a transition to Bing as the latter’s default search engine. Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella reportedly testified that Microsoft was fine with losing billions of dollars if it meant closing a deal.
As we now know, it didn’t come to fruition.
Meanwhile, on Google’s side, they have since denied several allegations and emphasised that its search engine was chosen because it is the best.
The 10-week trial recently entered its fourth week, and things are getting heated.
Potentially a game-changer for the entire Internet scene, Google has been hit with multiple accusations.
On 12 September 2023, they were accused by Justice Department attorney Kenneth Dintzer of “hiding and destroying” documents because they were aware that their actions violated antitrust laws.
They were also accused of buying out tech giants such as Apple, unfairly using machine learning algorithms, AI tools, and more.
Though they have denied several accusations, they have admitted that they routinely inflate ad auction prices to hit revenue targets.
These pricing changes were also not conveyed to advertisers on purpose.
This tactic, however, was not considered explicitly illegal.