Several alternative search engines are calling on the European Union (EU) to review Google’s antitrust investigation and the monopoly of their Android operating system. Despite the sanctions, they continue to accuse the company of offering search engines on smartphones.
A controversial financial compensation
In 2018, the EU fined Google a record $ 4.34 billion. Mountain View was accused of having abused Android’s dominant position, in particular by automatically pre-installing its own services such as Chrome or Search on smartphones. This practice leaves Google’s competitors no chance of winning. The company has changed its approach to give users more choices.
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Now they can choose a search engine from four options that are available when configuring the smartphone or after a reset. However, Google has developed a very clever trick to annoy its competitors: the proposed search engines have to pay the company if they are selected by the user. The bundle offered by Google is changed every quarter.
Several search engines are asking for a productive meeting
This financial compensation is not to the taste of Google’s competitors. Five of them, Ecosia, Qwant, Lilo, DuckDuckGo and Seznam, actually sent a letter to Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner, asking them to organize a meeting with Mountain View. to modify this process, which is very harmful to them:
“As you know, we are deeply unhappy with the so-called tool that Google has developed to address the negative effects of its anti-competitive behavior in the Android case. We understand that Google keeps you informed of its paid auctions on a regular basis, but it appears that you are not getting complete or accurate information.
We are writing to request a trilateral meeting with your office, us and Google with the aim of setting up an effective settings menu. Our respective representatives could work ahead of time setting a schedule for this meeting to make sure it is productive and cooperative. “
DuckDuckGo and Ecosia have also redesigned to offer search engines to users: each player is shown with a description of their specifics, as well as a drop-down menu where everyone can make their choice based on their needs.
If we still don’t know the answer from the European Commission, sending this letter for Google is in a complicated context. Indeed, the web giant has to face a very extensive antitrust investigation across the Atlantic, which could even lead to a reduction in its activities. As a reminder, Google holds 94.3% of the global search engine market.