A few days ago, it was revealed that Google shares the advertisement revenue it gets from Google Search with smartphone brands to make them release more software updates and better maintain smartphones. However, it has now been revealed that the company also pays brands, including Samsung, to make some apps as default apps on Android devices.
Samsung accounts for more than half of Google Play revenue
According to a report from Bloomberg, Google paid Samsung $8 billion over four years to make some of its apps default on Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Apparently, the internet search giant paid Samsung so that Google Assistant, Google Play Store, and Google Search were the default voice assistant, app store, and internet search engine apps, respectively. James Kolotouros, Vice President for Partnerships at Google, testified during the ongoing antitrust trial against Google that the company pays Android device makers to keep its apps on the home screen.
The Google executive testified during questioning by a lawyer appointed by Epic Games Inc. in San Francisco. Apparently, Google hatched this plan to stop Android OEMs from bringing competing services to Android smartphones. For example, Samsung has its own voice assistant (Bixby) and app store (Galaxy Store). Samsung also has a partnership with Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft, and Bing could've been the default search engine on Galaxy phones and tablets. If non-Google apps are the default apps on Samsung devices, it will hurt Google's control over the Android ecosystem.
James Kolotouros also revealed that Samsung accounted for more than half of the revenue from the Google Play Store. The company's plan to share ad revenue is codenamed Project Banyan. It strangles competition by stopping third-party app stores from proliferating the Android ecosystem. It explains why Samsung dialed down the development of several of its own apps, including Bixby, Play Store, and Samsung Messages.