Smaller competitors of Google have alleged that despite being imposed a record antitrust fine from the European Union, anti-competitive practices in the mobile search market is still being conducted by the United States based tech giant. Thee rivals have claimed that the tech giant’s dominance in the market has not been reduced by the fine.
The results of a quarterly auction were announced by Google late Monday. This auction helps the company to choose the winners of its so-called “choice screen” which allows users of Android in Europe to pick their default search engine while thy set up their smartphone.
Google had introduced this process in Europe as a concession to appease the antitrust regulators of the European Union after the record 4.3 billion euro ($5 billion) fine as imposed on the company by the antitrust regulators for charges of unfair practices in its mobile operating system.
The main winner across most of the major European markets was Microsoft while for the market of UK, Germany, France and 10 other countries its Bing search engine coming out on top, showed Google’s latest auction results. Just four markets – Bulgaria, Croatia, Iceland and Liechtenstein, featured for the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo which had been successful in the bidding process previously.
“Despite DuckDuckGo being robustly profitable since 2014, we have been priced out of this auction because we choose to not maximize our profits by exploiting our users,” the company wrote in a blog post.
“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.”
Also a looser in the auction was Ecosia which is a search engine that invests its profits into planting trees. It managed to get a spot in just one small market – Slovenia.
In the mobile search market in Europe, an overwhelming majority is command by Google as almost 75 per cent of the smartphones of the world are powered by its Android system.
“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,” said Ecosia CEO Christian Kroll. “Ecosia is the biggest Europe-based search engine, yet users can barely access us in Android via the auction screen.”
The auction process “allows search providers to decide what value they place on appearing in the choice screen and to bid accordingly”, insists Google.
The auction process of Google is so designed that no search engine is prioritized over another and that competitive bidding is used to decide the results, the company said.
“Android provides people with unprecedented choice in deciding which applications they install, use and set as default on their devices,” a Google spokesperson told CNBC. “In developing the choice screen for Europe, we carefully balanced providing users with yet more choice while ensuring that we can continue to invest in developing and maintaining the open-source Android platform for the long-term.”
(Adapted from TechInvestorNews.com)