Search on Android may be included in the US antitrust probe
DuckDuckGo’s founder was contacted for detailed information on how to increase competition in the online search market. This is a clear indication that search on Android may become included in the antitrust probe.
In any case, it seems like federal officials met with DuckDuckGo’s founder, Gabriel Weinberg, weeks ago to discuss the aforementioned issue. DuckDuckGo seems to have discussed the same proposal with state and congressional officials (two separate investigations).
DuckDuckGo said that the best idea is to include detailed preferences on Android. Preferences that would allow users to select a different default search provider.
Google Search has been the default option on Android for years. Android is running the vast majority of smartphones all over the world, so… you can see the issue there.
Back in 2018, antitrust penalties by the European Union forced Google to offer different options to its users. Well, it seems like the same option may be forced in the US as well, at some point, if things go in a similar direction.
Mr. Weinberg said that “If you try to break up Google, it’s going to take time and effort, and may not succeed”. What DuckDuckGo is suggesting is a “sweet spot” which “checks all the boxes”.
The Justice Department did not comment on this information
The Justice Department did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment, which is not surprising considering that this is an ongoing investigation. Google said that it continues to cooperate with the state and federal investigations. It did not, however, comment on DuckDuckGo.
All of this indicates that the antitrust probe is progressing. It seems to be spreading to Google Search, and we may see some further information in the near future.
Attorney General, William Barr, recently said to the Wall Street Journal that he hopes the Google probe can be brought “to fruition” this summer. So, things could escalate really soon.
As a side note, this is not the first time Google has been subjected to the US antitrust probe. Something similar happened in 2012, when the Federation Trade Commission examined the company’s search and advertising policies.
That probe did not go to court, though. The FTC decided to close the probe without suiting Google, even though some within the agency wanted to take Google to court.