Apple has used Google’s search engine for most of its products over the years, but that doesn’t mean other companies have tried to convince the folks in Cupertino to switch over to another search provider. One of them was the DuckDuckGo search engine, according to newly revealed testimony this week from Google’s ongoing antitrust trial.
CNBC reports that DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg testified that Apple first responded to the company’s pitch about using its search engine as early as 2016. Weinberg said his company got a face-to-face meeting with Apple executives in 2017 and did so again in 2018.
Weinberg claimed that after that meeting, the Apple executives “expressed they were really considering this for the 2019 release” but that there might be some issues with their contract with Google.
There was also testimony from John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior vice president of machine learning and artificial intelligence. He stated that Apple had concerns about DuckDuckGo’s claim that its search engine was built for privacy. Giannandrea stated that the search engine might have to reveal at least some user info to Microsoft, which DuckDuckGo used for part of its information.
In the end, Apple decided not to switch to DuckDuckGo and stay with Google. Weinberg stated that the company has also pitched using its search engine as the default to Samsung’s devices, along with the Mozilla and Opera web browsers, but to no available. He added that their own contracts with Google “was the key thing preventing us from getting a deal done with them.”
The US Department of Justice is trying to convince a judge that Google has made anticompetitive moves surrounding its search engine by forcing other companies to make it the default on their products. Google has denied the DOJ’s arguments, claiming that its search engine is simply better than its competitors.
Earlier this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella testified in the trial. He confirmed that the company had tried to get Apple to switch from Google to Microsoft’s Bing search engine. At one point, he stated that Microsoft was prepared to lose as much as $15 billion a year and even hide the Bing name to secure the Apple search engine rights.