DuckDuckGo says market share constrained by rival Google's huge wallet

FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured outside a Google office near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Paresh Dave/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CEO of internet search engine company DuckDuckGo testified on Thursday that his company struggled to grow its market share because Google was paying key companies billions of dollars to keep its search engine as the default on computers or mobile devices.

THE TAKE: DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg, who was testifying at a trial in Washington to determine if Alphabet's Google broke US antitrust law, was meant to support the U.S. government's argument that Google's big pockets were used to illegally hold back its smaller rivals.


Weinberg testified that he had pressed particular companies - he did not name them - to use DuckDuckGo as the default and found some interest but ultimately no success because of Google's contracts with the companies.

"We generally saw a lot of interest," he said. "We ultimately decided, this was after three years of trying this, that this was a quixotic exercise because of the contracts."


*The government has argued that Google, which has some 90% of the search market, illegally paid $10 billion annually to smartphone makers like Apple and wireless carriers like AT&T and others to be the default in search on their devices in order to stay on top.

*The clout in search then makes Google a heavy hitter in the lucrative advertising market, boosting its profits.

*DuckDuckGo has around 2.5% of the online search engine market because it has not been able to win a default position on devices made by big companies.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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