Private search engine DuckDuckGo could have been the default for private browsing in Safari but talks allegedly fell through under the might of Google's influence.
The Department of Justice is investigating Google for antitrust practices and abuse of power with a bench trial. Several potential deals have come to light, like bids from Microsoft for Apple to switch to Bing or even buy it outright, but all fell through allegedly because of Google's financial incentives.
According to a report from Bloomberg based on anonymous sources, Apple entered talks with private search engine DuckDuckGo to make it the default for private browsing mode in Safari. The testimonies about this subject may soon be unsealed if Judge Amit Mehta has his way.
DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg and Apple SVP of ML John Giannandrea both provided testimony about Apple's negotiations with the search company behind closed doors. However, Judge Mehta ruled that the testimony "goes to the heart of the case" and should be released sans trade secrets.
Apple and Google have an agreement in place that makes Google the default search engine on iPhone and other Apple products. It also stipulates that Apple can't create a Google competitor or display alternative search engines at device setup.
This deal between Google and Apple is at the heart of the DOJ antitrust investigation into Google. The trial is far from over and could have ramifications for both Google and Apple's businesses depending on the final ruling.