Eat your heart out, Bing.
As Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, argued for an appeal of a $5 billion punishment imposed by the European Union, a company spokeswoman made an extraordinary claim: the most-searched phrase on Microsoft’s Bing search engine is, ironically, Google.
“We have submitted evidence showing that the most common search query on Bing is by far Google,” Alfonso Lamadrid, a lawyer for Alphabet, told the EU’s General Court, according to Bloomberg.
In 2018, the EU issued the fine, accusing Alphabet of antitrust violations and “illegal practices” with respect to the Microsoft Android operating system. Margrethe Vestager — who monitors fair market competition throughout Europe for the European Commission, the EU’s governing body — had claimed that Alphabet’s Google had used its global brand recognition to make sure Android users were “locked down in a Google-controlled ecosystem.”
The commission claimed the company had paid off tech manufacturers and operators to exclude other search engines, such as Bing, from their devices, saying they’d “obstructed the development of competing mobile operating systems which could have provided a platform for rival search engines to gain traffic.”
Lamadrid disagreed with Vestager’s premise: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they are forced to.”
“Google’s market share in general search is consistent with consumer surveys showing that 95% of users prefer Google to rival search engines,” he added.
These rival tech giants have engaged in tit-for-tat business practices for years, as both the EU and US have tried to fairly regulate their massive market reach. Amid Google’s current fight with the European Commission, they’ve attempted to throw Apple under the bus.
“The commission shut its eyes to the real competitive dynamic in this industry, that between Apple and Android,” Google’s lawyer Meredith Pickford said of the $5 billion fine levied against them. Meanwhile, the revelation of Bing’s “Google” popularity was perhaps a low blow in the ongoing argument.