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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against Google filed last Tuesday could upend the company's unlikely partnership with its adversary Apple, one of the most lucrative business agreements in history, the New York Times reports.

By the numbers: Google pays Apple an estimated $8 billion–$12 billion annually for its search engine to be the default on Apple’s iPhone and other devices, according to the Times. It's likely Google's single largest annual outlay and accounts for 14%–21% of Apple’s yearly profit.

The bottom line: The end of the 15-year-old deal between two of the most valuable companies in tech "could mean the loss of easy money to Apple. But it would be a more significant threat to Google," the Times writes.

  • Google has no obvious alternative to replace the traffic it gets from iPhones, per the Times. Without the deal, Apple could be compelled to acquire or develop its own search engine.
  • Google has also feared that in the absence of a partnership, Apple will make it more difficult to access Google search on iPhones.

The backdrop: The DOJ argues in the suit, which is the government’s biggest antitrust case in two decades, that Google has "foreclosed competition for internet search" by securing its search engine as the default in web browsers and on mobile devices, including ones that run Google's own Android operating system.

  • Google has said its prominence in the search market is the result of the quality of its product, and the company has denied that it engages in anti-competitive tactics.
  • The company said it sees healthy competition in its major revenue-generating businesses, like advertising and mobile.

Go deeper: U.S. vs. Google — the siege begins

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Jan 27, 2021 - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

Apple raked in $111 billion in revenue in a single quarter

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Big Tech had a strong start to earnings season, as the S&P 500's heavy hitters reported Wednesday after market close.

What happened: Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple had its strongest quarter ever, raking in $111.4 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, far outpacing expectations.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
32 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.