Is Microsoft Blocking Google Search On New Lumia Phones?

Lumia 630According to a story appearing in The Verge yesterday, Microsoft is not allowing users to set Google as the default search engine for mobile web browsing on new Lumia 8.1 devices (630 and 930). As the article points out, the search button on the handset uses Bing and cannot be switched.

I reached out to both Google and Microsoft yesterday and didn’t receive a response from either. The Verge says that some of the European carriers were giving users the option to change the IE/browser search engine to Google.

It’s not entirely clear what the reality is. But if Microsoft is in fact not allowing users to switch the browser search option to Google it’s a foolish policy that will ultimately have to be reversed.

The company should focus instead on making the Bing and Cortana experiences so compelling that people willingly use them rather than forcing people to use Bing.

On the iPhone Siri now uses Bing but owners may switch Safari’s search engine from Google to Yahoo or Bing. Chrome mobile browser settings, though buried, also allow users to switch from Google to either Yahoo or Bing (on both iOS or Android).

According to comScore data for the US market, Windows Phones’ share is basically flat.

Smartphone OS data three years

Source: comScore (July 2014)

According to Kantar Worldpanel, Windows Phones have seen success in Europe (on the strength of the Nokia/Lumia brand) and have their greatest penetration in those markets. However in the US and China they have largely failed to gain traction.

Smartphone marketshare

Source: Kantar Worldpanel (June 2014)

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Microsoft: Bing | Microsoft: Bing Mobile | Microsoft: Windows Phone | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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