How can Google Search be an anti-competitive monopoly if people choose to use it even when directly confronted with alternatives like Bing?
That’s Google’s latest argument in an EU antitrust appeal in which it seeks to avoid or reduce a massive $5 billion fine from the European Commission.
Google says the search engine’s dominance isn’t necessarily because it’s bundled in front and centre on Android phones, but because consumers know it provides a superior experience.
A Bloomberg report brings word from Alphabet lawyer Alfonso Lamadrid, who told the court: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they are forced to. Google’s market share in general search is consistent with consumer surveys showing that 95% of users prefer Google to rival search engines.”
“We have submitted evidence showing that the most common search query on Bing is, by far, ‘Google.’”
Ouch, that won’t make pleasant reading for anyone at Microsoft, if the claim is accurate. Statescounter currently has Google with a 92.03% share of the worldwide search market, with Bing stuck at just 2.48%. 1.5% of global searchers are performed via Yahoo, while Baidu (1.39%), Yandex (1.21%) and DuckDuckGo (0.69%) make up the rest of the dregs.
Bing remains the default Search provider on Microsoft’s Edge and Internet Explorer browsers, which is loaded onto all Windows PCs, so given those worldwide search figures, you’d have to assume plenty of Bing searches are just users seeking redirections to Google.
Google was fined the massive $5 billion back in 2018 after the EC investigation found Google had abused its position as a top mobile operating system provider to harm competition in the search engine market. Google was forced to offer Android users more options as a result. Few chose otherwise.
Google also pays a reported $15 billion a year to Apple to remain the default search provider on iOS devices and the Safari browser, while it’s also the go-to provider on Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers.