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Apple Safari could lose Google as the default search provider in UK

Apple and Google’s cosy deal to ensure Google Search is the default search provider for Apple’s Safari web browser will come to an end if UK competition regulators get their way.

The Competition and Markets Authority says the billion pound arrangement creates “a significant barrier to entry and expansion” for those seeking to challenge Google’s overwhelming dominance of the search realm, Reuters reports.

Should the regulator decide to take action after a damning report, it could see the arrangement broken up and iOS and macOS users given proactive options to select a default browser rather than having to dig through the settings.

Those “choice screens” would appear in device set-up, according to the regulator’s recommendations, something which would restrict Apple and Google’s ability to make a deal.

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This could also present an opening for Microsoft’s Bing, plus independent upstarts like the promising DuckDuckGo platform, which has been the subject of calls for an Apple takeover in recent weeks.

“Given the impact of preinstallations and defaults on mobile devices and Apple’s significant market share, it is our view that Apple’s existing arrangements with Google create a significant barrier to entry and expansion for rivals affecting competition between search engines on mobiles,” the report brought to light by Reuters on July 1 reveals.

The report said Apple was the recipient of a “significant majority” of the £1.2 billion Google paid UK companies to be the default search engine last year alone. The deal is worth a significant amount to Apple, but to Google it is massively significant due to the ads its is able to serve to UK web users without having to compete for the airtime.

The likelihood is the vast majority of users would simply select Google from the proposed choice screens anyway, but it would be nice to have the choice without diving into the settings, wouldn’t it?