A system Google set up to promote competition on Android has left some smaller search engines having trouble gaining traction, fueling rivals’ complaints about the tech giant’s compliance with a European Union antitrust decision ahead of potential U.S. charges.
Since March, Alphabet Inc.-owned Google has been showing people in Europe who set up new mobile devices running the company’s Android operating system what it calls a “choice screen,” a list of rival search engines that they can select as the device’s default. The system is part of Google’s compliance with a 2018 decision that found the company used Android’s dominance to strong-arm phone makers into pre-installing its search engine.
But some small search engines that are relatively popular in Europe failed to win spots in large European countries in the latest round of auctions to appear on the choice screen, according to people familiar with the results. The results, which