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LONDON – Google still engages in competitive practices in the mobile search market, according to its smaller rivals, who claim that the EU’s record antitrust has done little to diminish the tech giant’s dominance.
The company announced late Monday night the results of a quarterly auction to decide the winners of its so-called “choice screen”, which allows Android users in Europe to choose their default search engine when setting up their smartphone. The process was started last year to appease EU antitrust regulators after Google was fined 4.3 billion euros ($ 5 billion) for inappropriate behavior related to its mobile operating system.
Google’s latest auction results show that Microsoft was the main winner in most major European markets, with its Bing search engine coming out on top in the UK, Germany, France and 10 other countries. The privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo, which has previously had success with the bidding process, this time in just four markets – Bulgaria, Croatia, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
The company wrote in a blog post, “Despite DuckDuguo being a lot more profitable since 2014, we are excluded from this auction because we do not want to maximize our profits by exploiting our users.”
“In practice, this means that our commitment to privacy and a cleaner search experience turn into less money per search. This means we must bid lower relative to other, profit-maximizing companies.”
“The current measure is not a measure – fundamentally rigged by Google to benefit Google. The Commission has stated that they are waiting on data to act: such data is now available. This process To expedite, we are sending (the European Union) our data to demonstrate exactly how the current process essentially eliminates DuckDegussy. ”
Ecocia, a search engine that invests its profits in planting trees, also lost at auction. It won a place in Slovenia, just a small market. Google earns a vast majority of the mobile search market in Europe, with Android systems running on about 75% of the world’s smartphones.
“We have long anticipated that this pay-for-play model will force purpose-driven businesses from the Android platform, and there is evidence here,” said Ecocia CEO Christian Krol. “Ecocia is Europe’s largest search engine, yet users can barely access us in Android through the auction screen.”
It is worth noting that some lesser-known players, such as PrivacyWall and info.com, made the cut in the latest auction.
Google ensures that the auction process “allows search providers to decide what price they want to appear in the choice screen and bid accordingly.” The company states that it is designed to ensure that no search engine is prioritized over another and that the results are determined through competitive bidding.
A spokesperson for Google told CNBC, “Android offers people unprecedented choices in deciding which applications they install, use and are set to default on their devices.” “In developing the screen of choice for Europe, we carefully balance users with providing yet more options, ensuring that we invest in developing and maintaining an open-source Android platform for the long term Can continue. “
A European Commission spokesman told CNBC, “We are discussing the choice screen mechanism with Google, following relevant feedback from the market, especially regarding the presentation and mechanics of the choice screen and the selection mechanism of rival search providers . ”
“The commission is committed to the full and effective implementation of the decision,” the spokesman said. “We will continue to closely monitor the implementation of the choice screen mechanism.”
Blatt’s top official, Margrette Westeger, has made a name for herself, speaking of anti-competitive practices at Google and other Internet giants. He suffered a major loss earlier this year when a European Union general court ruled that the Irish government had given Apple an unfair tax advantage. The ruling has appealed since the European Union.
Google has so far been hit with three antitrust penalties of more than $ 9 billion from the European Union, and is fighting each one through appeals in court. The other two fines focus on the company’s shopping comparison service and advertising. A fourth case is said to target the company’s job search tool.
News of Google’s latest Android auction – the company’s third ever – favors Microsoft over younger players as the US Department of Justice reads a lawsuit against the firm following its antitrust investigation, alleging that Google was its own Businesses, such as YouTube, have discovered results.