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Friday, August 02, 2019

Google To Allow Rivals To Bid For Place Among Default Android Options


FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is pictured at the entrance to the Google offices in London
FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is pictured at the entrance to the Google offices in London, Britain January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo
August 2, 2019
By Foo Yun Chee and Philip George
BRUSSELS/BENGALURU (Reuters) – Alphabet’s <GOOGL.O> Google will allow rivals to buy the chance of winning default search engine status on new Android devices in Europe, the U.S. company said on Friday in its latest proposal to ward off fresh EU antitrust penalties.
New Android smartphones and tablets shipped in Europe will, from early 2020, be offered four options for their default search engine, Google said in a blog post (http://bit.ly/2yuIiwh).
Search engine providers will be able to compete in a Google auction for a spot on a “choice screen” where users will select their preferred search engine from four options including Google.
The three highest bidders for a given country will appear on the choice screen, Google said.
Google’s move followed last year’s 4.34 billion euro ($4.81 billion) fine from the European Commission for blocking rivals by pre-installing its Chrome browser and Google search app on Android smartphones and notebooks.
The Commission said it would monitor the process closely.
“The decision provides rival search providers the possibility to strike exclusive pre-installation deals with smartphone and tablet manufacturers. This was not possible before,” a spokesman said.
“We have seen in the past that a choice screen can be an effective way to promote user choice.”
Czech search engine Seznam said it was not clear what the implications will be.
“It is hard to comment based on a screenshot and a few sentences. Seznam, and I believe others, too, were not contacted by Google about this proposition, so we have to wait for all-important details,” said Michal Feix, Seznam’s former chief executive and now partner at a consultancy advising the company.

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