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Telstra, Optus rapped by ACCC over pre-installed search apps

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted undertakings from Telstra and Optus to allow alternative search engines to compete to be the default search engine on the Android devices these companies supply.

The telco companies made the undertakings after the ACCC learned that Google initiated and entered into an agreement with Telstra and Optus to pre-install the tech giant’s default search service on Android devices supplied by these companies.

“Practices such as entering into agreements to ensure exclusivity can limit consumer choice or deter innovation. Digital platforms with significant market power should be aware of their obligations under Australia’s competition laws,” said Liza Carver, ACCC commissioner.

“In our view, these undertakings from Telstra and Optus are an important step in providing Australian consumers with more choice about the digital platforms and services they use, and encouraging more competition in these markets.”

Telstra and Optus committed that after June 30, they will not renew or enter any new agreements with Google that require its search services to be pre-installed and set as the default search function on an exclusive basis.

“Reform to Australia’s competition and consumer laws, particularly to create targeted service specific mandatory codes of conduct for certain digital platforms to prevent anti‑competitive conduct, remains critically important to address the influence digital platforms have across the economy,” said Carver.

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