British cartel guards investigate search agreement between Apple and Google

It is intended to represent a “significant” restriction for the search market. The antitrust authority CMA derives this from the large market shares of both companies. Other providers cannot afford to pay for the position as a preset search engine on Apple devices.

British cartel guards have a search agreement between Apple and Google classified as a “significant” restriction for competition in the search engine sector. This emerges from a report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on the market for digital advertising. According to the authority, the existing laws are not sufficient for large technology companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook and regulate their platforms.

Apple and Google (Image: between these companies in particular are likely to inhibit innovation and competition. As an example, the CMA cites a search agreement between Apple and Google from 2019. Google is said to have paid around $ 1.5 billion to secure its position as a preset search engine in the British market on mobile devices and systems. Most of this amount is said to have gone to the iPhone manufacturer.

“Competing Google search engines that we spoke to highlighted these payments as one of the most important factors hindering competition in the search engine market,” the report said. Other search engines include DuckDuckGo, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo.

In the UK, Google is said to control around 90 percent of the search ad market. The market itself is estimated at $ 9.1 billion.

The cartel guards now assume that Google’s dominance is a hurdle for the expansion of other providers. It should be a challenge for them to win users on whose devices Google is already preset. You also speak of a “positive feedback loop”. Google’s dominant market position makes the company more attractive as a preset search provider, which in turn extends Google’s influence.

“Given the impact of pre-installations and default settings on mobile devices and Apple’s sizeable market share, we believe that Apple’s existing agreements with Google are affecting search engine competition on mobile phones and represent a significant barrier to entry and expansion,” said the CMA .

The competition watchdogs see another hurdle in access to user data. Here, Google and Facebook would have a clear lead over competitors. “The inability of smaller platforms and publishers to access user data represents a significant barrier to entry,” added the cartel guards.

Google, however, emphasized that it had been working with the CMA for a long time and answered hundreds of questions and submitted dozens of reports in the past year alone. “Advertisers today choose from a variety of platforms that compete to deliver the most effective and innovative advertising formats and products. We support regulation that benefits people, businesses and society, and we will continue to work constructively with regulators and the government in these important areas so that everyone can make the most of the web, ”said Google.

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