Mozilla, the non-profit owner of the Firefox browser, has accused Google, Microsoft and Apple of “going its own way” and pushing consumers to use their own browsers.
According to Mozilla, examples of consumer harm resulting from this behavior based on self preferences include limited or dissatisfied choice, lower quality, lower innovation, poor privacy, and unfair contracts.
The report comes at a time when “self-preference” remains a hot topic in technology regulation; The UK Competition Authority has released the final report. (will open in a new tab) highlighting “substantial concerns” about market dominance by Google and Apple.
What does the report say?
The Mozilla report accused big tech firms of a wide variety of malpractice cases.
These include a ban on independent app discovery, with reference to how some companies bundle their respective browsers with their operating systems and set them as the default operating system on the main home screen or dock.
“For many people, this placement is enough and they won’t see or take additional steps to find alternatives,” the report says.
Mozilla also urged some major tech firms to ban independent app adoption, citing that Apple didn’t have a setting to drop Safari as the default browser until 2020, meaning that iOS consumers trying to use a different browser were blocked from further use of Safari for 13 years.
The report then highlights that Safari still cannot be removed from iOS.
In addition, the report accuses big tech companies of cracking down on independent application adoption, calling it “even more egregious than a ban on competing software adoption.”
Mozilla has claimed that this has been the case on Microsoft Windows computers for a number of years, “stating that consumers are facing increasingly aggressive practices, some of which have been aimed at reversing their decisions to use third party software, such as overriding the default browser . choice and return to Edge”.
“Consumers should have control over their online experience and be able to choose what software they want to use, including anything other than what the operating system vendor offers,” a Mozilla spokesperson said. “People don’t have to struggle with operating systems that are constantly pestering, confusing, and changing preferences in favor of their own software.”
Browser wars are nothing new: in the late 1990s, Microsoft Internet Explorer famously drove Netscape Navigator out of business.
Google is an example of one major tech firm that has responded to these allegations of leverage and the threat of antitrust.
In a blog post (will open in a new tab)Google’s president of international affairs, Kent Walker, said the potential antitrust rules “would impose one set of rules on U.S. companies, giving foreign companies a pass” and that they would “give the Federal Trade Commission and other government agencies unprecedented design authority.” consumer goods”.
Walker added: “All of this would be a dramatic reversal of the approach that made the US the world’s technology leader and risk losing America’s technological leadership and endangering our national security, as bipartisan national security experts have warned.”