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According to Google’s competitors, who say a record antitrust fine from the European Union had minimal impact in reducing the tech giant’s dominance claim that Google is still doing anti-competitive practices in the mobile search market.
Last Monday, Google released the results of a quarterly auction deciding the winners of “choice screen,” which allows Android users in Europe to pick their default search engine upon smartphone setup. The product’s purpose was to appease EU antitrust regulators after their 4.3 billion euro ($5 billion) fine on Google due to unfair practices associated with its mobile operating system.
Google’s recent auction showed that Microsoft was the real winner among major European markets, with Bing search engine leading in the U.K., France, Germany, and ten other countries. DuckDuckGo was also successful in the bidding with its four markets, namely Liechtenstein, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Iceland.
“Despite DuckDuckGo being robustly profitable since 2014, we have been priced out of this auction because we choose not to maximize our profits by exploiting our users. In practical terms, this means our commitment to privacy and a cleaner search experience translates into less money per search. This means we must bid less relative to other, profit-maximizing companies… The current remedy is not a remedy at all — it is fundamentally rigged by Google to benefit Google. The Commission has said they have been waiting on data to act: such data is now available. To expedite this process, we are sending the (EU) Commission our data that demonstrates exactly how the current process inevitably eliminates DuckDuckGo.”DuckDuckGo
Ecosia, a search engine investing its profits to tree planting, also lost out in the bidding after it only had Slovenia as its market. Google heads a grand majority of the mobile search market in Europe, due to its Android system spearheading almost 75% of the world’s smartphones.
“We’ve long asserted that this pay-for-play model would force out purpose-driven businesses from the Android platform, and here is the proof of that… Ecosia is the biggest Europe-based search engine, yet users can barely access us in Android via the auction screen.”Ecosia CEO Christian Kroll