The trial against Google kicked off on Tuesday in a U.S. court, with the U.S. Government vowing to unveil the tech giant’s tactics to monopolize the search engine market.
“Google has unlawfully maintained a monopoly for over a decade,” stated Kenneth Dintzer, Deputy Director of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, in his opening remarks.
The government will largely base its case on the agreements Google has in place to be the default search engine on smartphones, which could cost up to $10 billion annually.
U.S. Sues Google Over Alleged Search Monopoly
According to Dintzer, these agreements are the tactic the company has used to maintain its dominance “for over twelve years.” This jury-less trial began during Donald Trump’s presidency.
John Schmidtlein, lead attorney defending Google, argued that the company leads the market because it’s the best, not due to unfair practices. He refuted claims of harming other search engines and emphasized the ease with which users can switch their default search engine.
“Evidence will show they were outperformed in the market,” Schmidtlein stated, in a trial expected to last about ten weeks.
Kent Walker, Google’s Global Affairs Chief, defended on the X social network (formerly Twitter) that search agreements “reflect the choices of browsers and device manufacturers.”
We look forward to making our case in the competition trial starting today and showing the Court how our Search distribution agreements reflect choices by browsers and device makers based on the quality of our services and consumer preferences. More here: https://t.co/KK5ncOO1YN
— Kent Walker (@Kent_Walker) September 12, 2023
Dintzer accused Google of trying to hide documents and criticized its internal chat system for deleting messages after 24 hours. “They erased history, your honor, to rewrite it here in this courtroom,” he pointed out.
This trial represents the biggest legal threat Google has faced to date. Initiated under the Trump administration, it was inherited by President Joe Biden. Additionally, 38 state attorneys general have joined the government’s lawsuit.
Google has invested heavily in its defense, hiring hundreds of individuals and three major law firms. They will argue that agreements with companies like Apple weren’t exclusive and that users could easily change their default settings.
According to Similarweb data, Google holds 90% of the market share for search engines in the U.S. and 91% globally.
With information from CBS News