The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is the newest government regulator to deal with Google’s business. As Reuters ACCC reportedly wants Google to show Android users a “selection screen” that will allow them to choose a default search engine other than Google Search. The Commission also wants to limit Google’s ability to pay Apple and other providers or platforms as their default search engine.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims outlined the Commission’s reasoning in a statement:
We fear that Google’s dominance and ability to use its financial resources to fund agreements to become the default search engine on many devices and other means through which consumers access search, such as browsers, is competition and harms consumers. Google pays billions of dollars for these rankings every year, which shows how valuable it is to Google’s business model to be the default search engine.
Market research company Cantar says Android has a 60 percent share of the smartphone market, while Google pays Apple an estimated amount on iOS and macOS $ 15 billion a year be the default search in Safari. Google also pays Mozilla $ 400 million per year to remain the default setting for Firefox. Google has a 94 percent share of the Australian search engine market.
Google’s closest competitor in search is Microsoft’s Bing, which has a global market share of around 2.5 percent. This is the default search engine for Windows, the second most popular operating system in the world. Google recently stated in an EU court that “Google” was Bing’s # 1 search query, claiming that this statistic serves as evidence that users choose Google instead of being forced to use it.
Google has already gone through a similar change to Android unbundling in the EU, with the company adding ballot papers for the default search engine and browser. The EU also signed some provisions of Google’s standard Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) that OEMs had to sign in order to license the Google apps. A change means that Google cannot enforce an “all-or-nothing” bundling of Google apps. So if an OEM wants a single app (such as the Play Store), it doesn’t have to include every standard Google app on their devices.
The EU also said that Google cannot prevent OEMs from forking Android. Previously, using the Android code base in a manner unapproved by Google resulted in an OEM being kicked out of the Google Play ecosystem. South Korea has also grappled with Google’s Android fork restrictions and fined the company $ 177 million, one of South Korea’s heaviest fines ever.
Android’s business model does not charge OEMs directly; Instead, it generates revenue for Google through end-user purchases on the Play Store, Google searches, and Google ad impressions. These three areas are such moneymakers that not only can fully fund Android development, but they also allow Google to offer a revenue sharing program for Android OEMs through incentives like a kickback for every user’s search revenue.
Google’s response to all of these changes was to bill OEMs for Android if they agreed. In the EU, OEMs can stick to Google’s preferred terms and old sales agreements or change things up by paying up to $ 40 per device and potentially missing out on sales-sharing agreements.
The move by the ACCC is not yet a prerequisite – for the time being, it is a potential measure that the regulator will present for consultation with the industry in 2022.
This article was previously published on Source link