Google Pixel 5 vs Apple iPhone Pro EOY 2020

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  • Epic’s antitrust complaint against Google mentions a private meeting between Larry Page and Steve Jobs.
  • The two tech CEOs apparently discussed a partnership between Android and iOS back in 2010.
  • The purpose of highlighting the incident is to establish that together, the two companies have a duopoly over app distribution.

Freshly unredacted documents from the Epic vs Google lawsuit reveal some surprising details about a private meeting between former Google and Apple CEOs.

As noted by Politico’s antitrust reporter Leah Nylen, Epic’s complaint against Google mentions that the two tech companies maintain a close relationship, further reducing Google’s incentive to compete, innovate, and invest in app distribution because it benefits by cooperating with its “competitor” Apple.

The statement is followed by details of a 2010 meeting between Larry Page and Steve Jobs, where the two tech stalwarts apparently spoke about a “partnership” between Android and iOS. “There will always be places we compete, and places where we cooperate,” Page reportedly told Jobs, allegedly in the context of having similar policies for developers.

Our vision is that we work as if we are one company

-Notes from an Apple-Google meeting

The complaint further accuses Google and Apple of being “cozy duopolists,” offering identical terms to developers and changing those terms in tandem instead of truly competing with each other. To that effect, the document refers to some notes gathered after a meeting between senior executives of Google and Apple. “Our vision is that we work as if we are one company,” reads an excerpt from the notes.

Meanwhile, the complaint also alleges that Google incentivized phone makers to ditch third-party app stores. According to the text, the company ran a “Premier Device Program” in 2019 giving smartphone OEMs a greater share of search revenue if they agreed to ship devices sans any app stores besides the Google Play Store.

Phones under the program received 12% of Google’s search revenue as opposed to the standard 8%. Google also offered some companies like LG and Motorola anywhere between 3 to 6% of what customers spent on the Google Play Store through their phones.

To further exemplify the Play Store’s dominance, the complaint notes that by May 2020, many of the world’s largest and most popular Android OEMs had agreed to Google Play exclusivity for most of their new Android devices. Chinese phone makers like Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus had around 70% of their new devices under Google’s “Premier” program, while Sony (50%) and Xiaomi (40%) were less committed to the terms.