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Apple’s Deliberation: The Consideration and Rejection of DuckDuckGo Over Google

Apple, the tech giant known for its commitment to user privacy, recently made headlines when it was revealed that the company had considered switching its default search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo for its Safari browser. However, after much deliberation, Apple decided against the move. This decision has sparked discussions and debates in the tech community, with many wondering about the reasons behind Apple’s choice.

Key Highlights:

  • Apple contemplated replacing Google with DuckDuckGo as the default search engine for Safari.
  • The company had multiple discussions with DuckDuckGo between 2018 and 2019.
  • Apple’s decision was influenced by concerns over DuckDuckGo’s reliance on Microsoft Bing for search results.
  • The potential switch was seen as a move to enhance user privacy.
  • Google’s dominant position in the search engine market played a role in Apple’s final decision.

Apple’s Discussions with DuckDuckGo:

According to sources, Apple held numerous talks with DuckDuckGo, with discussions revolving around the possibility of making DuckDuckGo the default search engine for Safari’s private browsing mode. Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo’s CEO, mentioned that the two companies had around 20 meetings and phone calls during 2018 and 2019. These discussions even involved the head of Safari, indicating the seriousness of the potential partnership.

Google’s Dominance in the Market:

One of the significant factors influencing Apple’s decision was Google’s stronghold in the search engine market. The U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing legal feud with Google has shed light on the tech giant’s dominant position. The Department of Justice alleges that Google’s partnerships, like the one with Apple, are strategies to maintain its dominance, which could be in violation of antitrust regulations.

Privacy Concerns and Decisions:

Apple’s commitment to user privacy is well-known. However, the company’s decision to not switch to DuckDuckGo raised eyebrows. John Giannandrea, Apple’s head of search, expressed concerns over DuckDuckGo’s reliance on Microsoft Bing for its search results. He believed that DuckDuckGo might share user information with Microsoft, which could compromise user privacy.

Interestingly, around the same time, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, had discussions about the possibility of integrating Microsoft Bing as Safari’s search engine. This move contradicts the privacy concerns raised regarding DuckDuckGo’s reliance on Bing.

The Financial Angle:

Financial considerations also played a role in Apple’s decision. Google reportedly pays Apple approximately $8 billion annually to remain the default search engine across Apple’s platforms. While Apple did consider other options, the financial benefits of partnering with Google were hard to overlook.


Apple’s consideration of DuckDuckGo as a potential replacement for Google as the default search engine for Safari has brought to light the complexities of business decisions in the tech world. While privacy remains a top priority for Apple, other factors, including financial considerations and market dynamics, played a crucial role in the company’s final decision. The tech community will undoubtedly continue to watch closely as these tech giants navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape.