May 22, 2024

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Google and the Department of Justice make final arguments on whether the search engine is a monopoly

Google and the Department of Justice make final arguments on whether the search engine is a monopoly

WASHINGTON (AP) — Google’s supremacy as an Internet search engine is an illegal monopoly backed by more than $20 billion the tech giant spends each year to block competition, Justice Department lawyers said at the conclusion of a high-stakes antitrust lawsuit.

Google, on the other hand, asserts that it has The omnipresence flows from His superiorityAnd his ability to achieve the results that customers are looking for.

“It would be an unprecedented decision to punish a company for winning on the merits,” Google lawyer John Schmidtlin said late Friday afternoon, summarizing the company’s closing arguments.

Justice Department lawyer Ken Dentzer told the judge that “today should be the right day” to intervene and stop Google’s monopolistic behavior, which he likened to tactics used by Microsoft two decades ago that pushed Similar antitrust battle.

The US government, a coalition of states and Google presented their closing arguments on Friday in the 10-week lawsuit before US District Judge Amit Mehta, who must now decide whether Google violated the law in maintaining its monopoly status as a search engine.

a lot of issue, The largest antitrust trial in more than two decadesis about the extent to which Google derives its power from the contracts it has with companies like Apple to make Google the default search engine preloaded on mobile phones and computers.

At trial, evidence showed that Google spends more than $20 billion a year on such contracts. Justice Department lawyers said the huge sum indicates how important it is for Google to make itself the default search engine and prevent competitors from gaining a foothold.

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Google responds that customers can easily click through to other search engines if they want, but consumers always prefer Google. Companies like Apple testified during the trial that they partner with Google because they consider its search engine superior.

Google also says the government defines the search engine market too narrowly. While it has a dominant position over other general search engines like Bing and Yahoo, Google says it faces stiffer competition when consumers perform targeted searches. For example, the tech giant says shoppers may be more likely to search for products on Amazon than Google, vacation planners may conduct searches on AirBnB, and hungry diners may be more likely to search for a restaurant on Yelp.

Social media companies such as Facebook and TikTok also represent fierce competition, Google said.

During Friday’s arguments, Mehta questioned whether some of those other companies were already in the same market. He said social media companies can generate advertising revenue by trying to deliver ads that appear to match consumer interests. But he said Google could place ads in front of consumers as a direct response to inquiries they submit.

“It’s only Google where we can see that stated intent directly,” Mehta said.

Schmidtlin responded that social media companies “have lots and lots of information about your interests that I would say is just as powerful.”

The company also said its market power is weak because the Internet is constantly reshaping itself. Earlier in the trialShe noted that many experts once considered it irrefutable that Yahoo would always be dominant in search. Today, she said, young technology consumers sometimes think of Google as “Grandpa Google.”

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Government lawyers also argued that the tech company should be punished for the “systematic destruction of documents” that they say was done to deliberately hide evidence of monopolistic intentions and practices.

Empirical evidence showed that Google’s lawyers recommended that employees ensure that their work conversations are not saved due to their potential legal implications.

The government asked Mehta to impose a penalty that would allow the judge to conclude that all of the deleted chats were unfavorable to Google with respect to its anti-competitive intentions.

Mehta said he was not sure whether he would agree to the government’s request but strongly criticized their document retention practices and speculated there should be some kind of punishment.

“Google’s document retention policy leaves a lot to be desired,” he said. “It is shocking to me, or surprising to me, that a company would leave it to its employees to decide when to preserve documents.”

Google lawyer Colette Connor defended the company’s practice of generally failing to maintain internal company conversations. “Given the usual use of conversations, it was reasonable,” she said.

While Google’s search services are free to consumers, the company generates revenue from searches by selling ads that accompany a user’s search results.

Justice Department lawyer David Dahlquist said during Friday arguments that Google was able to grow its advertising revenue through growth in the number of queries submitted until about 2015 when query growth slowed and they needed to make more money from each search.

The government claims that Google’s monopoly on search engines allows it to charge artificially higher prices to advertisers, which is ultimately passed on to consumers.

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“Competition should be limited by price increases,” Dahlquist said. “It should be the market that decides what the price increases will be.”

Dahlquist said internal Google documents show that the company, unencumbered by any real competition, began tweaking its ad algorithms to sometimes deliver worse search ad results to users if it would increase revenue.

Schmidtlin, Google’s lawyer, said the record shows that its search ads have become more effective and more useful to consumers over time, rising from a 10% click-through rate to 30%.

Mehta has not yet announced when he will rule, although there are expectations that it may take several months.

If it finds that Google violated the law, it must schedule a “remedial” phase of the trial to determine what should be done to enhance competition in the search engine market. The government has not yet announced what type of treatment it will seek.