Based out of Munich, Cliqz, the provider of browser, privacy and search technologies has shut down its browser and search technology areas, effective from May 1, due to the coronavirus outbreak. According to Hubert Burda Media, which holds a majority of stake claims that the restructuring affects 45 employees, for whom individual solutions are currently being sought.
Cliqz GmbH was founded in 2008 by Jean-Paul Schmetz with the vision of an open Internet in which people have control over their data and are not spied on and manipulated for economic interests.
Jean-Paul Schmetz , founder of Cliqz, said:
“With our innovations, we have proven that it is technically possible to counter the dominant tech platforms from the USA with data protection-friendly products made in Germany. We have developed and operated a completely independent search engine with which we clearly differentiated ourselves from many others whose products are not based on our own technologies. Burda has accompanied us intensively over the years and supported us with a lot of courage and optimism in making our vision a reality. However, we have no long-term chance against an overpowering opponent like Google, who dominates and seals off the market in every respect. We are very sorry to have to say goodbye to colleagues who have supported us with a lot of commitment and passion in our vision. ”
Pulls the plug!
The German anti-tracking browser has started to combine browser and search and thus redesign the user interface of the Internet. Since then, experts from around 30 countries have developed innovative software in Munich intending to get users to their destination as directly as possible while protecting their privacy. Since May 2013, the company has been a majority stake in Hubert Burda Media.
Cliqz in blogpost wrote:
“We didn’t see a pandemic coming. We didn’t expect that a virus could have an impact on Cliqz. And even just one and a half months ago, we completely underestimated what this would do to the economy and even more so to the political priorities. It became clear to us in the last weeks, that all political initiatives to create an independent European digital infrastructure have been stalled or postponed for years. COVID-19 is overshadowing everything. This is not a climate where we will have any meaningful discussion about a public funding of a solution like Cliqz.”
Cliqz subsidiary will continue!
However, Ghostery, an anti-tracking tool acquired by Cliqz will continue to run under Jeremy Tillman. Ghostery detects thousands of tracking scripts and makes them harmless. On the other hand, a team of experts will be formed from Cliqz, which will take care of technical issues including AI, search and the influence of technology on media.
Paul-Bernhard Kallen , Burda CEO, said:
“We have invested in Cliqz for years because we believe that Europe needs its own digital infrastructure to stay fit for the future. Without the necessary political structures at European level for this, however, we will not be able to overcome the superiority of the tech giants from the USA and China. Also, the Corona pandemic is unlikely to lead to a far-reaching innovation program in Europe in the foreseeable future, so that we can no longer drive this path alone. I very much regret this because the basic idea of establishing a counterweight to the USA and China in the European search sector is still the right one.”
Main image credits: Cliqz
Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news