Google pays Telstra and Optus to make sure you don’t use Bing

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Anula Wiwatowska
Jul 02, 2024
Icon Time To Read1 min read

ACCC finds that Telstra and Optus entered into a revenue sharing agreement with Google to make it the default search engine on Android devices sold since 2017. Both telcos agreed to preinstall Google as the most prominent search service out of the box, and in return received a share of Google’s search revenue. This, the ACCC posits, limited competitor search engines ability to compete in the market. 

According to the ACCC undertakings, Optus entered into the first agreement from July 1, 2017, and Telstra from August 1, 2017. Both renewed agreements until June 30, 2024 and December 1, 2023, respectively. During this time the telcos were obligated to pre-install Google search applications to Android tablets and mobile phones, and configure all current and emerging search access points to direct to Google search services. 

During this time, Google’s search market share in Australia consistently remained at around 98% while in the year prior to these agreements, it held 93.96% according to StatCounter.

Google has been found to have similar agreements in place across the globe. A US Antitrust case against the search giant uncovered that Apple received 36% of search revenue to stay the default search engine on iOS devices. Similarly Android manufacturers received up to 12% as disclosed in the Epic v. Google trial. The revenue percentage Telstra and Optus were getting has not been disclosed, and neither telco were willing to comment.

This comes to light as part of the ACCC’s ongoing Digital Platform Services Inquiry into Google’s search dominance in Australia. The inquiry aims to examine how competitive digital platform services are in the country, and how Google's dominance is impacting search quality. Similar investigations in the United States and Europe have resulted in measures like user choice screens, that give greater screen real estate to competitor search brands to attempt to rebalance some of Google's search monopoly.

Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the extended universe. Working in the tech space since 2020, she covers phone and internet plans, gadgets, smart devices, and the intersection of technology and culture. Anula was a finalist for Best Feature Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards, and an eight time finalist across categories at the IT Journalism Awards. Her work contributed to WhistleOut's Best Consumer Coverage win in 2023.

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