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Small browser companies like DuckDuckGo and Ecosia see surge in users in Europe

Smaller browser companies are starting to grab market share in Europe after EU legislation forced Google, Microsoft and Apple to make it easier for people to switch to rivals.

The new EU Digital Markets Act suggests services should not be designated as gatekeepers, with industry giants now required to allow third-party app or app store providers access to their platforms. Users should also be able to change between them easily.

Since mobile devices running Android come with the Chrome browser by default, while iPhones come with Safari by default, the two browsers have long dominated the scene.

According to Reuters, other companies are beginning to benefit from the legislation. Aloha Browser said the number of EU users surged 250% in March.

Aloha positions itself as an alternative to big tech browsers that focus on privacy. Rather than making money by tracking users and selling ads, it is subscription-based and has an average of 10 million monthly users.

Andrew Frost Moroz, chief executive of the Cypriot company, said: “Before, the EU was our fourth largest market, now it is second…”

Vivaldi in Norway, Ecosia in Germany and Brave in the US have also seen increases since the legislation was officially passed.

Other companies like DuckDuckGo and Opera have also seen growth but say the rollout of selection screens is not yet fully complete.

“We currently have a record number of users in the EU,” said Opera Jan Standal vice president.

What is the EU Digital Markets Act?

Provisions of the legislation came into effect in early March. The aim is to promote competition in the technology sector and try to reduce the market dominance of companies such as Apple and Google.

The European Commission reportedly “carried out a thorough assessment of all arguments, taking into account the views of relevant stakeholders” but did not disclose details of the cases brought by the companies involved.

Any failure to comply with the rules may result in the company being fined up to 10% of global annual turnover, up to 20% in the case of repeated violations, and up to average daily turnover on a regular basis. A penalty of 5% of the amount.

Featured Image: Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

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