Following in the footsteps of many other countries, Australia has become the latest nation to demand that Google unbundle search from Android. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has asked the tech giant to display display “choice screen” to Android users, which will allow them to pick a default search engine which may or may not be Google Search.
Charged with Harming Competition
The Commission is also seeking to limit Google’s ability to pay vendors or platforms like Apple to be their default search engine. Chair Rod Sims has issued a statement explaining the matter, saying that the regulatory body feels that Google’s market dominance and funds can allow it to rather easily become the default engine on many devices and browsers, thereby harming competition and decreasing consumer autonomy.
Sims has added that the company “pays billions of dollars” every year just to ensure that it remains on top, further illustrating that an important part of Google’s business model is “being the default search engine.”
Market research company Kantar has said that Android has a market share of 60 percent when it comes to smartphones. Moreover, Google even pays $15 billion to Apple per year to be Safari’s default engine. Mozilla, meanwhile, receives $400 million every year to keep Google Search as the default on Firefox.
With a market share of 94 percent on the Australian search engine market, Google faces competition from Microsoft’s Bing, which has a share of 2.5 percent, which mostly comes from being the default browser in Windows. The company recently told a court in EU that Google is Bing’s No. 1 search enquiry, citing stats as evidence that users like to choose Google instead of being forced to use it.
Strict Measures by the EU
Nevertheless, the European Union has already subjected the industry biggies to an Android unbundling change, forcing it into adding ballot screens for default browser and default search engine. The Union also proceeded to shut down certain provisions under Google’s “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA),” which it earlier required OEMs to sign, so as to license Googlr apps. One of the changes has made it impossible for the company to force “all-or-nothing” bundling of its apps, so that OEMs wont have all Google apps into their devices, and can instead choose to have even single apps like Play Store. Moreover, now they can even fork Android’s code, as per the EU’s new directive.
Source: Ars Technica