Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google to Begin

    Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google to Begin
    Last updated Sep 11, 2023
    Image credit: Unsplash


    • As the US Justice Dept. (DOJ) is set to bring its antitrust lawsuit against Google on Tuesday, rivals of the tech giant — such as search engine DuckDuckGo — will be watching as the US government argues that Google uses unfair tactics to dominate internet searches. The case will be held before the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
    • The case will be overseen by Judge Amit Mehta, who was appointed by former Pres. Barack Obama in 2014. Mehta, who graduated law school a year before Google was founded, previously worked as a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, Calif., and Washington, DC.
    • Though Judge Mehta tossed out charges that Google designed its search results page to harm rivals such as Expedia or Yelp, he will allow accusations that the company pays billions each year to "secure default status for its general search engine" to "prohibit [its] counterparties from dealing with [its] competitors."
    • The DOJ's case, which accuses Google of paying "popular-device manufacturers such as Apple, LG, Motorola, and Samsung" to shield it from competition, was originally filed by the Trump admin. in 2020, with the Biden admin. subsequently filing a second lawsuit.
    • In an opinion unsealed in August, Judge Mehta was quoted as saying that Google’s "brand name has become so ubiquitous that dictionaries recognize it as a verb," also noting that the company held 90% of the search engine market share in 2020.
    • The plaintiffs are Jonathan Kanter, US Assistant Attorney General (AG) for Antitrust, Kenneth Dintzer, a deputy director in the civil division of the DOJ, and Colorado AG Philip Weiser. The Defendants, Google's CEO Sundar Pichai and Pres. of Global Affairs Kent Walker will be represented by the law firm Williams and Connolly.


    Narrative A

    Even though Judge Mehta narrowed the scope of this case, the core argument of this lawsuit leaves Google at extreme risk of facing an antitrust ruling against it. Consequences for such a historic ruling could include forcing the tech giant to restructure its company as well as massive fines. Bringing this case to court is already a win for the Davids of the world, and the Goliaths should be worried about the momentum it builds.

    Narrative B

    While smaller search engines are understandably upset that they can't become a default web browser, the reason Google gets prioritized over others is that it provides the cheapest and most efficient internet search process. Antitrust law is supposed to protect against companies monopolizing an industry to raise prices, but Google only makes its products more accessible and affordable.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that iPhones will have a default search provider other than Google by July 2028, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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