How much would you pay to be the default search engine in the iOS mobile operating system?

According to a report at TechCrunch on Tuesday, the magic figure that Google will be paying Apple for the privilege could be a whopping $1 billion dollars.

That’s because Google and Apple, while enemies in the mobile arena, also need each other to survive. Apple’s valuable iOS users – millions and millions of eyeballs that happen to be wealthier than most – are coveted by Google, and Google’s massive search data is needed by Apple for those same users. (I could also add that Apple desperately needs Google’s mapping data, but that’s not what this story’s about, and that’s just rubbing salt on the Apple Maps wound.)

Apparently, even as Google is trying to kick Apple’s butt with Android, Apple gets 75 cents for every dollar Google makes on iOS from advertising and data collection. Which puts the iOS price tag somewhere around that billion-dollar mark, according to the Morgan Stanley report cited in the article.

A billion dollars in revenue is nothing to sneeze at, and on the surface it seems like Apple is being silly with this continued effort to separate itself from the ever-pervasive realm of Google’s services.

What it may be thinking is simple math: if Apple can get $1 billion just as a cut of someone else’s business, imagine what it could make if it had full control of that business? Thus, we have efforts like Apple Maps.

Clumsy as Apple’s efforts might be, the fact that there’s a lot of money to be made in the realm of mobile data and advertising means such efforts may ultimately be worth the birthing pains. With its rich and loyal user base, Apple may be the eventual winner – if it can ultimately remove Google and it’s billion-dollar ad payouts as the middle man.

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