EU Under Pressure to Curb Google’s Default Spot on Web Browsers | #firefox | #chrome | #microsoftedge

  • Four of Google’s best-known search rivals have called on the EU to take further antitrust action.
  • They called on legislators to ban Google’s default position on browsers like Safari and Firefox. 
  • Google has multi-billion deals with Apple and Mozilla to maintain its position. 

Regulators must bring Google’s default position on web browsers like Safari and Firefox to an end to dismantle the tech giant’s alleged monopoly on the search market, according to four of its biggest rivals.

Beyond Google’s in-house web browser Chrome – which commands 69% of the market – the company has also agreed multi-billion dollar deals with  both Apple and Mozilla to keep it as the go-to search engine for their respective browsers.

Search engine rivals

DuckDuckGo
, Ecosia, Lilo, and Qwant called on legislators to end Google’s “hoarding of default positions” on web browsers, in an open letter to the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU. The rivals called for the commission to make it easier for users to set up or switch to alternatives.

“Google would not have become the overall market gatekeeper they are today without years of locking up these defaults,” it said, adding that if legislators failed to address the issue: “We believe the status quo will continue, leaving the root cause of this problem unchanged.” 

The move comes just weeks after Google scrapped its controversial “choice screen” for Android users in Europe, under which rival search engines bid for default space on phones using the company’s operating system. 

Google introduced that system after incurring a $5 billion fine from the EU in 2018, but put an end to it following further complaints from competitors. New Android phone users are now presented with the five most popular search engines in their respective countries, as well as seven alternatives.

But the likes of DuckDuckGo and Ecosia say the EU needs to go further, with the former’s CEO Gabriel Weinberg accusing Google of suppressing competition “by making it unnecessarily difficult to switch.”

“The EU has a window of opportunity now to take this effective, difference-making action to curtail Google’s search monopoly and show the world how it should be done,” he said. 

Ecosia’s head of public policy, Sophie Dembinski, told Insider that “much still needs to be done to curb Google’s dominance in the European search market,” and called on legislators to implement a “one-click switch” rule as part of the Digital Markets Act – the bloc’s flagship piece of digital regulation, which is still in the works. 

“We are calling on the European Commission to take a leading role in ensuring that the DMA successfully addresses the most acute barrier in search: Google’s hoarding of default positions,” said Dembinski.

“Such anti-competitive behaviour suppresses user choice and fair competition in the search market and risks continuing to do so unless policy makers take urgent action to apply a similar logic for Google’s Chrome users by requiring the tech giant implement a ‘one click switch.'”

Google has previously defended its commitment to offering users “unprecedented choice” in deciding which applications they install, use, and set as default on their devices. The company did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Are you a current or former Google employee with more to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+447801985586) or email (mcoulter@businessinsider.com). Reach out using a nonwork device.



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