UK anti-competition regulators scrutinize Apple-Google search engine deal

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Google's deal to remain the default search engine on Apple platforms is a "significant barrier" to rivals, U.K. regulators said Wednesday.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA


The Mountain View search engine juggernaut reportedly pays Apple billions to remain the default search engine in Safari across Apple's hardware platform. In 2018, for example, Google is said to have shelled out $9 billion for those rights.

According to Reuters, U.K. regulators have been investigating payments between Apple and Google, and in a report published Wednesday, they said that the deal presents a "significant barrier to entry and expansion."

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority found that Apple received the "substantial majority" of the $1.5 billion that Google paid to be the default search engine on devices in the country.

"Given the impact of preinstallations and defaults on mobile devices and Apple's significant market share, it is our view that Apple's existing arrangements with Google create a significant barrier to entry and expansion for rivals affecting competition between search engines on mobiles," the regulators wrote.

The report goes on to suggest that U.K enforcement authorities should be given a range of options to address the deal, including requiring the ability for users to choose a default search engine.

Another option could be to restrict Apple's ability to monetize default search engine positions -- something that Apple told regulators would be "very costly."

In addition to the default Safari search engine position, Apple switched its Siri, iOS and Spotlight features from Bing to Google in 2017.

The report comes amid increased antitrust scrutiny into both Apple and Google in the U.S. and Europe.

U.S. Justice Department lawyers are said to be "scrutinizing" Apple's App Store policies, and the European Commission is also investigating allegations of anti-competitive practices on the app marketplace.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,212member
    It’s weird that they look at this, rather than how google force feed chrome to everyone that visits their website.

    Chrome would have next to no market share if the google homepage didn’t constantly lie to people to download it: It’s not faster, it’s not more efficient, it’s literally just a backdoor so google can more easily monitor your web activities while pushing their other less popular services. 

    If google pay money to be there, how is that different than advertising?

    ronnkkqd1337jdb8167jony0rotateleftbyteelijahgBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    It’s weird that they look at this, rather than how google force feed chrome to everyone that visits their website.
    ;) mostly because people don't config privacy settings in their google accounts, plus they don't add a decent! adblocker afterwards. 
    edited July 2020 Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,212member
    It’s weird that they look at this, rather than how google force feed chrome to everyone that visits their website.
    ;) mostly because people don't config privacy settings in their google accounts, plus they don't add a decent! adblocker afterwards. 
    Not in disagreement, but on macOS it takes 2 clicks to change Safari’s default web browser. It’s difficult to argue competition when the barrier to alternatives is so low. 

    On mobile Safari it’s easier than turning the phone off. 
    steve_jobsjony0viclauyycmike1aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 368member
    Fact is that there is too much power with too few companies 
  • Reply 5 of 12
    pujones1pujones1 Posts: 222member
    "Apple's significant market share"? I thought Android was King in the UK. 

    Even though I don't like it, Google's search engine is king. No one comes close for whatever reason. I use DDG sometimes but they aren't even close to Google IMHO. So the regulators want to take money out of Apple's mouth so others can be default? They can be default already. We just have to choose them. Isn't that the idea? The better experience wins right? We get to choose not the regulators. Old bast..ds.

    Money grab again for the UK? Like they are always after an American company for something and it ALWAYS ENDS IN A FINE $$.
    edited July 2020 viclauyycrotateleftbyteaderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    jony0jony0 Posts: 347member
    Settings … Safari … Search engine … DuckDuckGo !
    One of the very first rituals I've been doing on every iOS device after Apple's setup routines. 
    So 4 intuitive taps is a « significant barrier » to UK regulators !!
    How the hell can they possibly expect to ever get Brexit done !!!


    aderutterBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    seanjseanj Posts: 265member
    pujones1 said:
    Money grab again for the UK? Like they are always after an American company for something and it ALWAYS ENDS IN A FINE $$.
    “AGAIN”??
    Pray tell what previous money grab has the UK made? How much did it get?
    You should check your facts before ranting unfounded allegations.
    edited July 2020 aderutterjony0
  • Reply 8 of 12
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    pujones1 said:
    "Apple's significant market share"? I thought Android was King in the UK. 

    Even though I don't like it, Google's search engine is king. No one comes close for whatever reason. I use DDG sometimes but they aren't even close to Google IMHO. So the regulators want to take money out of Apple's mouth so others can be default? They can be default already. We just have to choose them. Isn't that the idea? The better experience wins right? We get to choose not the regulators. Old bast..ds.

    Money grab again for the UK? Like they are always after an American company for something and it ALWAYS ENDS IN A FINE $$.
    You’re thinking of the EU, not the UK. 

    All the UK is doing here is blowing the empire trumpet, trying to make itself look like a big player in the wake of Brexit. 

    Since you can change the default search engine with a few taps, I’m not sure what they’re whining about. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,815member
    kkqd1337 said:
    Fact is that there is too much power with too few companies 
    Fact?

    jony0Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12

    UK anti-competition regulatorslooters scrutinize Apple-Google search engine deal


    Fixed that for ya.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    seanjseanj Posts: 265member
    Rayz2016 said:
    You’re thinking of the EU, not the UK. 

    All the UK is doing here is blowing the empire trumpet, trying to make itself look like a big player in the wake of Brexit. 
    Ridiculous speculation on your part. This story has hardly been reported here, it’s so minor. So hardly a good choice for “blowing the empire trumpets or “look like a big player”.

    You could make those arguments about the UK offering citizenship to 3 million Hong Kong citizens now threatened by the CCP. Except you’d be wrong, it’s just a case of Britain playing fair and watching out for the little guy.
    We do that, it’s a responsibility of still being a big player.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,646member
    It’s weird that they look at this, rather than how google force feed chrome to everyone that visits their website.
    ;) mostly because people don't config privacy settings in their google accounts, plus they don't add a decent! adblocker afterwards. 
    Not in disagreement, but on macOS it takes 2 clicks to change Safari’s default web browser. It’s difficult to argue competition when the barrier to alternatives is so low. 

    On mobile Safari it’s easier than turning the phone off. 

    Not true. Most people don't even know you can change default browsers or search engines.
    watto_cobra
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