Lawsuit alleges that Google pays Apple to keep out of the search engine business

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Both Apple and Google have been hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming the tech giants are in breach of United States antitrust laws. Particularly eye-catching is the suit’s allegation of an arrangement between the parties whereby Google pays billions of dollars to Apple – in return for which, the Cupertino firm supposedly agrees not to create its own search engine.

It has already been reported in the past that Google pays Apple billions of dollars annually in order to remain the default search engine in the Safari web browser. Indeed, it has even been estimated in some quarters that payments from Google may amount to as much as a fifth of Apple’s yearly profits.

The latest lawsuit filed in California, however, goes further than this, by suggesting that a non-compete agreement is in place between the two tech titans in violation of national antitrust laws. Also alleged by the suit are “regular secret meetings” between Apple CEO Tim Cook and his Google counterpart Sundar Pichai, as well as plans to actively suppress smaller competitors and even acquire potential search engine suppliers.

It is the allegation that Apple has agreed not to directly compete with Google’s search engine business as part of their partnership, however, that will especially fire the imaginations of many. The lawsuit goes as far as appealing for both of the tech titans to be broken up into “separate and independent companies”.

It will certainly be intriguing to see what emerges from this latest legal skirmish involving such heavyweights of today’s tech world.

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