Wikipedia asks Apple, other tech giants to pay for its content

Apple integrates information from Wikipedia into macOS, iOS, Siri… you name it.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Wikipedia reportedly asked the tech companies that use its free encyclopedia to start chipping in on the cost. That includes Apple, who built Wikipedia into macOS and iOS.

Apple and others depend on Wikipedia

As a demonstration of Apple’s dependence on Wikipedia, ask Siri, “What is the Holy Roman Empire?” and she’ll read an article straight from Wikipedia. A macOS Spotlight search for that term pulls up links to articles from the online encyclopedia.

Or do a Google search for “Holy Roman Empire” to get the same information also pulled from Wikipedia. Ask Alexa about it and she’ll read you the article, too.

These companies get this information for free. But Wikipedia would like them to start contributing to the costs of producing it, according to Wired.

Pay the piper

Wikipedia provides companies a dump of all articles every two weeks, as well as constant updates of what’s changed. But it makes no effort to tailor this data to the needs of the recipients. Wikimedia Enterprise has been created to sell easier access to its tremendous collection of encyclopedia articles produced by volunteers.

Companies willing to pay will get better service. “Wikimedia Enterprise provides paid developer tools and services that make it easier for companies and organizations to consume and re-use Wikimedia data,” according to the Wikimedia Foundation.

To be clear, the Foundation isn’t planning to block the Tech Giants who don’t want to pay for accessing its content. Nor are there any plans to charge for access to the online encyclopedia.

It’s not yet known if Apple will become a customer. It’s early days yet, as Wikimedia Enterprise won’t launch until later in 2021.