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EU’s New Digital Law Boosts Independent Browsers

 |  April 10, 2024

Independent browser companies within the European Union are experiencing a surge in users following the implementation of the EU’s Digital Markets Act on March 7. This legislation requires major technology firms like Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft, and Apple to provide users with a choice of web browsers on their mobile devices.

Data from six browser companies shared with Reuters confirms a notable increase in users opting for alternatives to dominant browsers such as Chrome and Safari, which are pre-installed on Android and iOS devices.

The Digital Markets Act aims to promote fair competition by giving consumers the freedom to choose their preferred web browsers, challenging the traditional dominance of tech giants in the industry.

Growth Highlights for Independent Browsers

Aloha Browser, based in Cyprus and known for its privacy-centric approach, has seen its EU user base grow by 250% in March alone. Andrew Frost Moroz, CEO of Aloha, noted, “Before, the EU was our number four market, right now it’s number two,” highlighting a significant shift in user preferences. With a global user base of 10 million monthly average users, Aloha represents a growing trend towards privacy-focused browsing experiences.

Other browsers such as Vivaldi from Norway, Ecosia from Germany, and Brave from the US have also experienced growth in user numbers. DuckDuckGo and Opera, renowned for their privacy features, have reported record user numbers in the EU following the new regulation.

Jan Standal, vice president at Opera, stated, “We are experiencing record user numbers in the EU right now,” underscoring the impact of the legislation on browser adoption.

Implementation of the Choice Screen

Under the new EU legislation, Apple devices now display up to 11 browsers alongside Safari, with the selection customized for each of the 27 EU countries and updated annually. Google has also committed to displaying browser choices on its devices, and other manufacturers running the Android operating system will implement the choice screen in the coming months.

While DuckDuckGo and Opera are featured in Apple’s choice screen across all 27 countries, Aloha is available in 26, Ecosia in 13, and Vivaldi in 8 countries, indicating differences in visibility and accessibility for these alternative browsers across the EU.

The introduction of the Digital Markets Act marks a significant step in the EU’s efforts to foster a more competitive and equitable digital market. By enabling users to easily switch to alternative web browsers, the legislation not only challenges the market dominance of tech giants but also promotes innovation and diversity in the digital landscape.

Source: Reuters