The US Justice Department testified Alphabet Inc.’s (Googe) before a federal court on Thursday that Google unlawfully pays billions of dollars annually to Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., and other telecom companies to retain its position as the top search engine.
Kenneth Dintzer, an attorney with the Department of Justice, has said that Google pays “enormous sums” to be the search engine of choice on most browsers and all US cell phones, but he hasn’t revealed just how much.
DOJ and Google
“Google invests billions in defaults, knowing people won’t change them,” Dintzer told Judge Amit Mehta during a hearing in Washington that marked the first major face-off in the case and drew top DOJ antitrust officials and Nebraska’s attorney general among the spectators. “They are buying default exclusivity because defaults matter a lot.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a major antitrust action against Google, alleging that the firm violated antitrust laws to preserve its internet search monopoly via anticompetitive contracting practices. Another antitrust claim against the search giant is being pursued by state attorneys general and is also now before Mehta. Even while the trial itself isn’t scheduled to begin until next year, Thursday’s hearing was the first real hearing in the case, and it was a day-long lesson in which both sides presented their positions on Google’s business.
Under President Joe Biden, the federal government made its first serious move to curb the dominance of the internet titans, with the filing of the Google antitrust complaint in the closing days of the Trump administration. On Thursday, a panel of experts convened at the White House to discuss the negative effects of some of the most popular digital platforms on the economy and the wellbeing of young people. According to Google’s lawyer John Schmidtlein, the Department of Justice and individual states have a skewed view of the market since they are fixated on relatively minor competitors like Microsoft Corp.’s Bing and DuckDuckGo. According to him, Google is up against many other businesses for customers’ attention, such as ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok, Meta Platforms Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Grubhub Inc., and other online sites where consumers go to look for information.