In an interview with Axios on HBO, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained the decision to use Google as the default search engine on Apple products. This decision has baffled some, considering Google’s business model of making money off of users’ data—something Apple has spoken out against numerous times.
“I think their search engine is the best,” Cook said in the interview. He followed up by diving into privacy features Apple has implemented in its Safari browser.
“Look at what we’ve done with the controls we’ve built in,” Cook stated. “We have private Web browsing. We have an intelligent tracker prevention. What we’ve tried to do is come up with ways to help our users through their course of the day. It’s not a perfect thing. I’d be the very first person to say that. But it goes a long way to helping.”
Google pays Apple to have its search engine be the primary one on iPhones and other Apple devices. The money that Apple makes from that deal funnels into the company’s services business, which has been a consistent source of light for Apple in its recent quarterly financial reports.
A Bloomberg report estimates that Apple may bring in between $3 and $9 billion from its Google licensing agreements, with the majority of analysts putting the number between $3 and $4 billion. Apple’s services business as a whole hit a big milestone—$10 billion in revenue—during the final fiscal quarter of 2018.
Cook also talked about the looming privacy regulations that may come to Silicon Valley. When asked if federal regulation is inevitable, Cook emphasized that he’s “not a big fan of regulation” but that companies have to recognize when the free market approach has failed.
“I’m a big believer in the free market,” Cook said. “But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation. I think Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.”