The watershed antitrust trial pitting the US Government against Google began on Tuesday in a Washington district court, as the government started to argue its case that the tech giant illegally abused its power to monopolize internet search, The Guardian reported. The case is the biggest test of antitrust law in decades and the first such case against Google to go to trial in the US.
According to The Guardian, the trial is set to last 10 weeks, over the course of which the government will make its case that Google leveraged its market power and wealth to strangle competition. Google spent billions on deals with companies such as Apple and Samsung to make itself the default search browser on their devices, which the government alleges shut out competition and allowed Google to attain a monopoly on searching the internet.
Google denies the justice department’s allegations. The company’s longtime chief legal officer, Kent Walker, has argued that consumers can still freely use any rival search engines and that Google’s services represent a fraction of the ways that people browse the internet.
The Guardian also reported that Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama appointee from 2014, is presiding over the case and will decide on a ruling. There is no jury in the trial. Throughout the first day, Mehta challenged attorneys in both sides of the case to clarify their argument that people could easily switch internet browsers from their default setting, asking how often people actually do that.
CNBC reported lawyers for the Department of Justice and a coalition of state attorneys general led by Colorado faced Google on Tuesday, as the 10-week trial kicked off in Washington, D.C., District Court. Day one of the trial set the stage for how the government and Google would argue their opposing views of how the company has maintained a large slice of the search market for years.
According to CNBC, the government’s case is that Google has kept its share of the general search market by creating strong barriers to entry and a feedback loop that sustained its dominance.
Google says it’s simply been the preferred choice of consumers. That popularity, the company says, is why browser makers and phone manufacturers have chosen Google as their default search engine through revenue-sharing agreements.
TechCrunch reported that the Justice Department’s landmark antitrust case against Google marks the beginning of a trial that will stretch on for months, potentially upending the tech world in the process.
At issue is Google’s search business. The Justice Department says that Google has run afoul of antitrust laws in the course of maintaining its top spot in search, while the tech giant argues that it maintains its dominance naturally by offering consumes a superior product.
According to TechCrunch, the Justice Department filed the civil antitrust against Google in late 2020 after examining the company’s business for more than a year.
A large coalition of state attorneys general also filed their own parallel suit against Google, but Judge Amit Mehta decided that the states did not clear the bar that would allow them to go to trial with their own complaints about Google’s search ranking practices.
Personally, I think it is obvious that this is a court case that is going to take a very long time to sort out. We will just have to wait and see what Judge Mehta decides.