On Tuesday, a trial in an important antitrust case against Google, which is accused of monopolizing online searches, begins in Washington County Court (USA). A case filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2020 could affect the way millions of Americans use the internet in the future. Experts point out that the outcome of the case could lay new foundations for the functioning of the IT industry.
The focus is on allegations that Google is using its dominant market position to restrict competitors. This is the first court case in which the US government has brought charges against Google. In addition, the DOJ joined a separate lawsuit filed by 38 state and territory attorneys general challenging Google’s monopoly control over advertising. The company denies all allegations related to both cases.
Judge Amit P. Mehta dismissed several charges against Google last month, handing the company a partial victory. But he allowed for more serious allegations, including key arguments that Google’s exclusive deals with smartphone makers would allegedly harm competitors.
According to the allegations, the company spends billions of dollars annually to ensure that its search engine is set as the default search engine on many devices, including smartphones and tablets, making it difficult for users to access competitors’ products. In addition, Google is accused of having agreements that prohibit partners from working with other search engines. According to prosecutors, these measures create insurmountable obstacles for competitors seeking to enter the market.
Judge Mehta noted that the Google trademark had become so well known that it had become a verb used in dictionaries. In 2020, the company had almost 90% share of the search market. The judge also noted the importance of Google’s advertising business, noting that advertisers spend more than $80 billion annually to reach the broad audience of users who use Google to search for information on the Internet.
The judge also emphasized that only a company with monopoly power that suppresses competition acts illegally. The question now is: Can the government prove that Google’s actions violate antitrust laws?
The trial promises to provide answers to these questions and shows how far the government can go in regulating tech monopolies. It should be noted that this case is just one of many that have recently been brought against tech giants, including lawsuits against Meta✴ and Amazon, indicating a possible change in the state’s attitude towards the dominance of technology companies in the market.