More search engines available on Android

Author: Dimitri Lagun
Date: 05.08.2019

Google charges fee for pre-installations

Previously, Google was the only pre-installed search engine on Android devices. This will now change following a decision by the EU Commission. From 2020 on, the search engines of three other providers will also be available. The four search engines will then be randomly arranged on the devices.

The bidders will be selected in an auction procedure with closed bids. Each time a European user selects a particular supplier, that supplier will pay an amount to Google. In the auction, companies are asked to indicate the price they are willing to pay for it. The fees are then billed on a monthly basis.

Unfair competition

Last year, the EU Commission accused Google of unfair competition and imposed a fine of 4.34 billion euros. The pre-installed search engine with no alternative on the Android operating system belonging to the Google group was a decisive reason for this.

Now the EU Commission seems to be satisfied with Google’s offer to pre-install other search engines on Android devices through deals. “That was not possible before,” the authority commented. The Commission will nevertheless monitor the implementation of the selection list and the reactions of market participants to the procedure.

Criticism from the competition

Criticism, on the other hand, hails from the competition. The European search engine Owant described the auction as “another unacceptable abuse of Google’s dominant position”. The procedure would result in an unacceptable distortion and a high risk of manipulation, inequality and unfaithfulness.

Head of the DuckDuckGo search engine Gabriel Weinberg also criticized that four list places were too little choice for users and that Google profited at the expense of competitors.

Another possibility includes a lottery procedure to place suppliers on the list free of charge. In return, they can register for the selection and waive a bid. For each country a minimum bid shall be determined, if there are less than three competitors, the free places among the registered bidders will be drawn.