On Tuesday, the U.S. government leveled accusations against Google, asserting that the company disburses $10 billion annually to Apple and other entities as a strategy to protect its monopoly in the realm of online search.
This accusation surfaced during the commencement of a historic trial, marking the most significant antitrust case in the U.S. in over twenty years.
“This case is about the future of the internet and whether Google will ever face meaningful competition in search,” Justice Department lawyer Kenneth Dintzer told reporters.
Throughout a period spanning ten weeks, and with numerous witnesses testifying, Google will endeavor to convince Judge Amit P. Mehta that the Department of Justice’s case lacks validity.
“Google has for decades innovated and improved its search engine, plaintiffs escape this inescapable truth,” Google’s lawyer John Schmidtlein argued before the court.
A first since Microsoft two decades ago
Conducted within a Washington courtroom, this trial marks the first instance where U.S. prosecutors have confronted a major tech corporation directly since Microsoft was under scrutiny over the dominance of its Windows operating system more than two decades ago.
The core of the Google case revolves around the government’s assertion that the tech giant unfairly achieved its supremacy in online search by establishing exclusive contracts with device manufacturers, mobile service providers, and other companies, effectively eliminating any opportunities for competitors to enter the market.
Dintzer informed Judge Mehta that Google allocates $10 billion annually to Apple and other entities to maintain its search engine as the default option on smartphones and web browsers, thereby stifling emerging competitors before they can gain traction.
‘We will track what Google did…’
Over the past decade, this practice has resulted in what the government terms a “feedback loop,” where Google’s dominance continually expanded due to its monopolistic access to user data, which competitors could never match.
“Through this feedback loop, this wheel has been turning for more than 12 years. It always turns to Google’s advantage,” Dintzer said.
This dominance has propelled Google’s parent company, Alphabet, into one of the wealthiest corporations globally, with search advertisements contributing to almost 60 percent of the company’s revenue, overshadowing earnings from other ventures like YouTube or Android phones.
“We will track what Google did to maintain its monopoly… It’s not about what it could have done or should have done, it’s about what they did,” Dintzer told the court.