The auction follows an antitrust settlement in Europe, which saw Google ordered to loosen its stranglehold on the search market. The company’s solution was to auction off positions on the Android search engine choice screen to market rivals, country by country.
For the period October 1 to December 31, Bing (which also powers the Windows 10 search facility) will feature on the Android choice screen in countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and more.
As part of the same auction, search competitor info.com secured choice screen positions in all 31 countries, PrivacyWall won a place in 22 and GMX in 16.
Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo was the biggest loser this time around, winning a measly eight slots overall – and mostly in smaller markets.
Windows 10 search engine
It’s fair to say that Bing isn’t the most popular search engine around today. According to Statcounter data for August, while the service is the second largest in the world, it holds just 3.06% market share.
That’s despite the fact that Windows 10 is installed on circa 60% of computers worldwide, which equates to more than a billion machines.
For contrast, Google controls a whopping 93.24% of the search market, illustrating precisely why European regulators felt the need to intervene.
Microsoft is doing its best to improve its position in the market; competing in auctions for default slots on mobile platforms is just one part of a wider campaign to improve Bing’s standing.
The company has also doubled down on efforts to promote its web browser, Edge (which uses Bing for search queries by default), revitalized earlier this year with the launch of a much-improved Chromium-based version.
The latest Windows 10 update, for example, appeared to forcibly install Microsoft Edge onto users’ devices, whether they want it or not.
The latest version of the browser will also be impossible to uninstall via traditional methods. Users will have to go to the trouble of using a Windows 10 command line tool to rid themselves of the application.
It remains to be seen, however, whether Microsoft’s new strategy will allow Bing to launch a genuine challenge to Google’s long-standing supremacy in search.