The Department of Justice (DoJ) of the United States has started a trial against Google. The tech behemoth is charged with controlling the search engine market. The main issue in the lawsuit is whether Google broke the law when it paid Apple and other firms to make its search engine the default on their mobile devices, so solidifying its monopoly and stifling competition.
The Justice Department’s complaint is based on allegations that Google improperly arranged its business relationships to make it the user’s default search engine. Also, it asserts that the company has stifled competition using its market dominance. According to the DoJ, Google engaged in anticompetitive behaviour to preserve its monopolistic position in the search engine market. To make Google the default search engine, this entails negotiating exclusivity agreements with browsers, mobile carriers, and gadget makers. The DoJ asserts that Google has harmed competition in the search advertising sector by abusing its dominant strength.
Additionally, it asserts that Google’s strategy began more than 20 years ago, when the company was only starting to gain traction in the search market. The DoJ is of the opinion that Google executives devised many strategies to outwit their rivals. As a result, Google search became the default search engine and was made available in as many online browsers as feasible.
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Kenneth Dintzer, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, stated at the start of the trial that this case is concerned with the future of the search engine industry. Additionally, he asserts that it will determine whether Google Search faces major rivals in the future. Evidence already in existence shows Google sets the default search in an effort to stifle rivals. According to him, Google currently controls 89% of the market for web searches.
The 10-week Google antitrust case began in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, local time in the United States. This lawsuit is considered the “battle for the soul of the Internet”. The U.S. Department of Justice asked Google to explain how it pays billions of dollars each year to different brands. The DoJ mentions the likes of Apple, AT&T, Mozilla and many others. So, Google do not only pay to mobile phone brands, it also pays to carriers and other browsers to maintain its search engine leadership.
Google defended itself in this regard, saying that the company has always welcomed competition. However, it said that its dominant position was not obtained through wrongdoing but through the incompetence of competitors such as Bing.
Google’s legal representative John Schmidtlein emphasized that Google’s dominance is the choice of users. It said that contemporary users have broader and richer needs for search, and Google meets their needs. Schmidtlein noted that users have always been able to set Bing as their default search engine, but not many actually did so. Schmidtlein bluntly stated that the “cause of this problem was Microsoft’s failure to invest and innovate, resulting in Bing being unpopular with users”.
What to Expect
The result of the trial, which could extend for several weeks, could have a big impact on the tech sector. If the DoJ prevails in the litigation, Google search functionality may alter. However, it is unlikely that the tech sector would undergo a significant shake-up. The next action, according to antitrust experts, will be more like a tremor than an earthquake. Even if the DoJ wins the case at trial, it will probably take years before Google’s role in people’s lives alters significantly.
The US DoJ’s trial against Google has the potential to have profound effects on both the search engine sector and the tech sector as a whole. The trial is anticipated to extend for ten weeks. Depending on the results, Google search may change in the future. The tech sector is unlikely to undergo a significant upheaval. If there are any changes, they will more likely be gradual and take years to materialise.