What’s the N edition of Windows operating system in the Europe? It’s a special edition for European Union, essentially the same as in other areas, but without Windows Media Player and related technologies pre-installed. To restore these features, you have to download Media Feature Pack separately. Microsoft was forced to do so due to pressure from EU regulators. Something similar is in South Korea with its KN edition of Windows. Something similar now happened to Google and its default search provider in Android. And Google solved it very wisely.
Since 2020, Google will present a new search provider choice screen to users in Europe during the initial setup of a new phone or tablet based on Android. It will affect search box on the Android home screen and also Chrome browser, if installed. Search providers will be required to pay Google each time a user selects them from the choice screen.
Google was fined 5 billions for antitrust violations in EU. European regulators required from Google to stop tying its Chrome and search apps to Android. Google solved it really wisely by auctions:
In each country auction, search providers will state the price that they are willing to pay each time a user selects them from the choice screen in the given country. Each country will have a minimum bid threshold. The three highest bidders that meet or exceed the bid threshold for a given country will appear in the choice screen for that country.
Google will comply with EU regulators and it will also earn some extra cash. Really smart move.
Google did not publicize the minimum bid treshold, but Google said that the number of bidders, and their bids, will be kept private. If fewer than three search providers meet the minimum bid threshold then Google will fill the available slot(s) randomly from the pool of eligible search providers. Providers will also be randomly ordered on the choice screen.
It was also criticized. CEO of Qwant – the privacy-focused search engine, Eric Leandri, said it’s “a total abuse of the dominant position” to “ask for cash just for showing a proposal of alternatives”.
Google argued with its significant investment in the Android operating system, but commision rejected it, because Google is earning huge amount in the Play Store alone and it also collects users’ data for its advertising business.
European Android users will be able to switch default search provider at any time after the initial setup.
The deadline is set to September 13 2019 for each country. Auction will repeat every year.