Google has often been accused of creating a monopoly around its built-in search function on Android. In Europe, regulators have forced the company to provide alternatives to users, with Microsoft's Bing search chose. However, the way Google made its decision has led to one competitor speaking out.
DuckDuckGo, a search engine competing against Bing for Google's affections, says the process was flawed. That's because Google operates an auction for rival search engines to compete to become the default alternative to Search on Android.
DuckDuckGo has previously been part of Google's recommendations, but this time was not. The company has hit out at the process:
“This EU antitrust remedy is only serving to further strengthen Google's dominance in mobile search by boxing out alternative search engines that consumers want to use and, for those search engines that remain, taking most of their profits from the preference menu,” DuckDuckGo wrote in a blog post yesterday. “The auction model is fundamentally flawed and must be replaced.”
“We predicted this outcome but chose to participate as long as we could since offering consumers an easy way to get simple privacy protection is more important than a boycott.”
In 2018, European regulators took Google task over shutting out other search providers on Android. In response, the company started including search and browser ballot screens on the platform. These screens allow users to choose other providers if they want. Services that appear on the screens are determined by auction.
This was part of the company's record-breaking anti-trust case, which saw the European Commission issue a fine of $5 billion.
Earlier this year, Google announced the winners of the Android search auction. At the time, Microsoft Bing was chosen only in the United Kingdom. However, through the latest auction, Bing has become more prominent while DuckDuckGo has been sidelined.