Android devices sold in Europe will ask the user which browser and search provider they want to use
If you didn’t already know, Europe is much more serious about privacy than the United States. That why big companies like Google have been haunted by the European Commission for a long time now. Google and the EC have a decade-long history of discussing how Google and Android should handle the open competitive strategy. Back in July of 2018, Google was fined $5 billion for antitrust violations. Since October of last year, Google is charging OEMs for including Google’s apps in the system, due to EC’s regulations about antitrust violations. Now, Europe is going for the default applications in the Android operating system.
According to the blog post from Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs at Google, the company will now let users change their default search engine and web browser during the setup of the smartphone. The European Commission’s concern was that the Google Search application and Chrome browser eliminated the ability to have healthy competition in the Android ecosystem. As you know, both of these apps are built into the system already, and a very small percentage of users actually take the time to download the alternatives and change their default apps. That’s a very bad practice if you ask the EC.
The blog post also mentions previous compliance of European Commission’s regulations. For example, Google changed a lot of things on the Google Shopping platform and redesigned the format recently. Starting in 2018, after the $5 billion fine, they started certifying devices for Google Play, Google Chrome, and Google Search. Kent Walker mentions that healthy, thriving markets are in everyone’s interest. Keep in mind that the new regulation will only apply to European Android users.