Microsoft has disabled an option to set Google as the default search engine on some of its latest Lumia Windows Phones. The option is currently supported on the majority of Nokia's Lumia devices, thanks to an advanced setting in Internet Explorer on Windows Phone 8.0. Microsoft acquired Nokia’s phone business in April, and the company's first handsets, the Lumia 630 and Lumia 930, are shipping without the option on Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft has never allowed Windows Phone users to alter the physical search button behavior, which defaults to Bing, but Internet Explorer users could enable the setting to use the address bar to search within Google instead of manually navigating to the search engine or using the Bing default.
The Verge understands phone makers and operators have the ability to choose the default search engine on their devices, and Nokia previously chose to offer the ability for Windows Phone users to switch to Google on their handsets. Existing Lumia handsets, even those updated to Windows Phone 8.1, appear to be unaffected by the change. In our testing on unlocked Lumia 930 and Lumia 630 devices, the Google option is missing. Some European versions of the handsets appear to have the Google option enabled. Google is currently seeking to dismiss a US antitrust lawsuit that argues phone manufacturers are forced to set Google’s search engine as the default on Android handsets. However, Google allows Android users to set Ask, Bing, or Yahoo as the default search engine in Chrome, and Apple also offers a choice between Google, Yahoo, and Bing in its Safari for iOS browser. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment, and we’ll update you accordingly.
Update, 7:16AM ET: Some European Lumia 930 / 630 carrier-supported devices have the Google option enabled. The article has been updated to reflect this.