DuckDuckGo suggests Google is destined for US antitrust action

DuckDuckGo and Google apps

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and state regulators are investigating Google's dominance of the search engine market, according to one of its rivals.

DuckDuckGo CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, told Bloomberg that he had spoken with state regulators and the DoJ a few weeks ago.

Justice Department officials and state attorneys asked the company about requiring Google to give consumer alternatives to its search engine on Android and the Chrome web browser, according to Weinberg.

"We've been talking to all of them about search and all of them have asked us detailed search questions," he added.

The comments suggest that US regulators are examining "search", one of Google's major businesses.

The DoJ and the state of Texas are already looking into the firm's manipulation of the digital advertising market, with Attorney General Ken Paxton leading an investigation that has already begun drafting a lawsuit, according to Bloomberg.

In this regard, the US is well behind Europe, which has already brought antitrust violations against Google, for both advertising and for tying its apps, including search, into Android bundles.

Following the European Commission's 2018 ruling, which found that Google was abusing its monopoly by tying its search engine to Android-based smartphones, the tech giant developed a new system for surfacing rival apps.

The company gave Android users a choice of four different search engines as the default when setting up a new device. The company chosen would then have to pay Google, with the process repeated every four months. Only three winners could be selected each time as the fourth position always goes to Google.

DuckDuckGo was one of the selectable companies, but it wasn't especially pleased about the system.

"A search preference menu can be an excellent way to increase consumer choice, but a pay-to-play auction with only 4 slots isn't right because consumers aren't getting all the choices they deserve and Google profits at the expense of the competition," the company tweeted at the time.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.