According to a top company executive who testified during the Justice Department’s antitrust trial, Google disbursed $26.3 billion to other firms in 2021 to secure its search engine’s default status on web browsers and mobile devices.
This amount marks a significant increase, as payments for default status have more than tripled since 2014.
Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior executive responsible for both search and advertising at Google, revealed these figures. He pointed out that while Google’s revenue from search advertising reached $146.4 billion in 2021, payments for the default setting represented its most substantial cost.
Google chose not to provide a comment regarding this testimony when Reuters contacted the company.
In its defense, Google has contended that its revenue-sharing agreements are lawful and that the company has invested in maintaining competitiveness in its search and advertising sectors. Google also argued that users can switch to alternative search providers if they are dissatisfied with the default options.
Google had initially opposed the disclosure of these numbers, asserting that it could hinder the company’s ability to negotiate future contracts. Nevertheless, Judge Amit Mehta, overseeing the case, decided that the figures should be made public.