The multi-billion dollar search deal between Google and Apple took four months working 'every single day'

Key Points
  • Google pays Apple billions of dollars to be the default search engine on the Safari browser.
  • Apple's former top lawyer discussed the negotiations between the two companies in a recent interview.
  • According to him, the negotiations took four months meeting every single day, and involved Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google's top leadership. 
Tim Cook participates in a panel discussion during the TIME 100 Summit 2019 on April 23, 2019 in New York City.
Brian Ach | Getty Images

Google pays Apple billions of dollars to be the default search engine in the Safari browser on iPhones and Mac computers.

A deal like that doesn't come together overnight, and a new interview with Apple's former general counsel Bruce Sewell reveals just how involved the most senior levels of both companies were hammering out the details.

"The Google negotiation for example, between Apple and Google over search, probably took us four months," Sewell said in an interview with Doreen Benyamin, a Columbia University law student who runs the channel "Before You Take the LSAT." 

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Sewell said he was "meeting almost every single day" with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and general counsel Kent Walker.

He continued: "And then with myself and either Tim [Cook] or Eddy Cue who was my counterpart on that deal. They'd be at Google or we'd be at Apple almost every day, it's just one example there are a lot of those kinds of negotiations or lawsuits that just completely suck up all your time."

Apple has never commented on the amount that Google pays it, and Sewell did not specify the amount on Monday, but court documents revealed that Google paid $1 billion in 2014. A recent Goldman estimate put the amount at $9.5 billion in 2018.

Apple's Safari browser is the second most popular browser after Google Chrome, according to SearchEngineLand.

Sewell was Apple's general counsel from 2009 to 2017 before he was replaced by Katherine Adams, who is currently Apple's top lawyer.

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He oversaw 900 people in Apple's legal department and had a budget of just under $1 billion, he said during the interview. He reported directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who he said would often send him a barrage of emails at in the early morning.

"Tim is a little crazy in his work schedule," Sewell said.

"From 4:00 a.m. to 5 a.m., there's a there's a lot of activity, so my first thing when I got up around 6:30 a.m. would be to check my email and see all the stuff that Tim had left for me, the little cookies he's left for me," Sewell continued.

Watch the entire interview below: