Qwant continues its fight to allow Internet users to freely choose their search engine on their phone.
For more than five years, Qwant has regularly informed the European Commission of the harmful effects of Google's anti-competitive practices, which deprive consumers of normal access to a diverse range of search engines. Together with the Open Internet Project (OIP) collective, we filed a complaint against these practices on March 6, 2017, joining our voice to other European search engines such as the Czech Seznam or the Russian Yandex, who also complainants. These complaints enabled the European Commission to confirm an abuse of dominant position and to sentence Google to a 4.34 billion euro fine in July 2018.
Two years later, Qwant welcomes the fact that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has also formally filed a complaint against Google to put an end to abusive practices that harm all Internet users by preventing search engines from offering their services normally, and therefore from investing in their development. After a lengthy investigation, the DOJ, like the Commission before it, was able to verify that Google had indeed used the Android system as a key locking any possibility for a search engine other than itself to be chosen by consumers.
We believe that these investigations and decisions must lead in the shortest possible time to finally put a genuine end to abuses, by giving Internet users the possibility to freely choose the search engine they want on their phone.
But the Choice Screenpresented by Google as a solution is once again nothing more than an abuse of a dominant position, which the European Commission must put an end to by better enforcing its pioneering 2018 decision.
By auctioning off a few alternative options, Google is asking its own competitors to be the ones who pay the most for the right to be chosen by European consumers. It's asking the victim to pay its executioner. This is not acceptable, and we can see how ineffective it is.
European search engines and most of the best known engines are indeed largely excluded from this Choice Screen, and two years after the sentencing of Google, consumers still do not have the possibility to freely choose the engine they want on Android.
It is therefore essential that this Choice Screen be thoroughly and quickly reviewed and corrected, so that all the search engines that want to are accessible as a choice by consumers. It is in the interest of Internet users as well as the credibility of the European authorities, who can no longer accept that their decisions remain without real effect and that they do not allow the development of solid alternatives in Europe.
Qwant, which Google has unsuccessfully tried to exclude from the antitrust proceedings, will continue to fight to ensure that the interest of Europeans for free choice is recognized and that they can be offered a search engine that respects their privacy.