Mozilla, the nonprofit Firefox owner, accused Google, Microsoft, and Apple of “self-preferences” and of tricking consumers into using their own browsers.
According to Mozilla, examples of consumer harm from this self-preferment behavior include limited or frustrated choice, lower quality, lower innovation, poor privacy, and unfair contracts.
The report has landed at a time when “self-preferences” remain a hot topic in the technology regulation space; the UK Competition Authority has published: final report (opens in a new tab) highlighting “significant concerns” about the market dominance of Google and Apple.
What does the report say?
Mozilla’s report accuses big tech companies of many different fraud cases.
These include inhibiting independent application discovery, citing how some companies link their browsers to their operating systems and set them as the default operating system on the main home screen or in a docking position.
“For many people, this place is sufficient and they will not see or take additional steps to discover alternatives,” the report reads.
Mozilla also called on several big tech companies to ban independent app acceptance, citing Apple’s lack of settings to switch from Safari as the default browser by 2020 – meaning iOS users trying to use a different browser were blocked in using Safari continuously for 13 years.
The report emphasizes that Safari still cannot be removed from iOS.
In addition, the report accused large technology of overriding independent application adoption, calling it “even more outrageous than banning rival software adoption.”
Mozilla said this was the case with Microsoft Windows computers for several years, “saying that consumers are facing increasingly aggressive practices, some of which were intended to reverse their decision to use non-Microsoft software, such as overwriting default browser, select and return to Edge “.
“Consumers should be in control of their online experience and be able to choose the software they want to use, including something other than what the operating system vendor offers,” said a Mozilla spokesman. “People shouldn’t be struggling with operating systems that constantly harass, confuse and invert preferences in favor of their own software.”
The “browser wars” are nothing new, in the late nineties Microsoft Internet Explorer was famous for pushing the Netscape Navigator out of the market.
Google is an example of one large tech company that has responded to these accusations of lunging at it and threatening antitrust laws.
In post on a blog (opens in a new tab)Google’s president of global affairs, Kent Walker, said the potential anti-trust law would “impose a single set of rules on US companies while allowing foreign companies to pass” and that “would give the Federal Trade Commission and other government agencies unprecedented power over consumer product design.”
Walker added, “All of this would be a dramatic reversal of the approach that made the United States a world technology leader and would risk relinquishing America’s technological leadership and threatening our national security, as bipartisan national security experts have warned.”