On Tuesday, Google denied the US’s claim that it broke the law to maintain its large market share, saying its search engine was popular due to its quality and that disgruntled customers could switch with “a few easy clicks.”
The Justice Department accuses Alphabet’s Google of paying $10 billion annually to Apple, AT&T, and Mozilla to maintain its 90% search engine market share.
The world’s fourth-most valuable firm relies on its search engine for advertising and other revenue.
“This case is about the future of the internet,” said Kenneth Dintzer, arguing for the Justice Department that Google improperly maintained its monopoly in 2010.
But Google’s lawyer, John Schmidtlein, said the payments reward partners for ensuring software security upgrades and other upkeep.
Schmidtlein mentioned that internet users now have an abundance of search options and information access methods, highlighting Google’s victories in search engine competitions sponsored by Apple and Mozilla.
Schmidtlein said unhappy customers just needed “a few easy clicks” to remove the Google app from their devices or use Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo on a browser.
The Justice Department’s Kenneth Dintzer claimed on Tuesday that Google manipulated internet ad auctions to raise advertiser pricing in addition to the payments.
“Defaults are powerful, scale matters, and Google illegally monopolised for over a decade,” Dintzer added. Without substantial competition, Google developed less and focused less on privacy, he added.
Dintzer also stated that the agency found proof that Google safeguarded communications related to its payments to Apple, and he commented, “They were aware that these agreements violated antitrust regulations.”
He displayed a discussion where Google CEO Sundar Pichai requested history disablement.
William Cavanaugh argued that Google withheld access to Microsoft’s Google Marketing Platform SA360 functionalities due to financial considerations for the states under the leadership of Colorado.
The government’s first witness, Google economist Hal Varian, testified about mid- and early-2000s business conversations about Google becoming the default on home pages.
He added, “I think in general, having the default is valuable.”
A packed federal court in Washington heard the trial’s opening arguments. The two-phase trial is planned to span 10 weeks. The first will determine if Google violated antitrust law in search and search advertising management, according to Judge Amit Mehta.
If Google breaks the law, Judge Mehta will decide how to address it. He may order Google to discontinue criminal practices or sell assets.
The government’s complaint requested “structural relief as needed” without definition.
The legal battle has major implications for Big Tech, which has been accused of buying or strangling small competitors but has avoided antitrust charges because its services are free or cheap, like Google’s or Amazon’s.
AT&T and Microsoft, filed in 1974 and 1998, respectively, were landmark antitrust trials. The 1982 AT&T divorce paved the groundwork for the contemporary cell phone market, while the Microsoft struggle opened the internet to Google and others.