In court this week, Google defended itself against accusations of creating a monopoly in the search engine industry by presenting evidence that users actively choose Google as their preferred search engine over competitors such as Bing and other search engines.
The US Justice Department argued in a trial that started on Tuesday that Google gave large sums of money to companies like Apple and Samsung. This was done in order to have Google apps pre-installed and set as the default browser on users’ devices. It is alleged that Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), the parent company of Google, pays approximately $10 billion annually to ensure its products are available on Android and other mobile devices.
The trial is the most significant technology antitrust trial since the 1998 case against Microsoft. Kenneth Dintzer, a lawyer and prosecutor from the US Department of Justice, emphasized the trial’s importance for the “future of the internet” in his opening statement.
Antonio Rangel, a professor of behavioral biology at the California Institute of Technology, was interviewed by the government on Thursday. During the questioning, Rangel emphasized that people are most likely to continue using the web browsers that come pre-installed on their computers and smartphones, serving as the default option.
Google provided evidence to support its case, revealing data that indicates that users tend to stick with its search engine if it is pre-installed on their devices while opting to switch from Bing and other search engines.
During the cross-examination, Google’s lawyer, John Schmidtlein, pointed out to Rangel that there have been many cases where a substantial number of people chose to use Google for their searches, even when another search engine was set as the default option.
For example, Schmidtlein referred to an internal Microsoft record from a few years back that recorded the utilization of search engines on BlackBerry devices. It stated that Verizon BlackBerries had Bing set as the default search engine, T-Mobile BlackBerries had Yahoo, and Sprint BlackBerries had Google preloaded.
Verizon BlackBerries with Bing indicated that Google accounted for 91% of all search queries.
Google relies on the fact that users favor its search engine for its excellence in defending itself against accusations of illicitly obtaining its significant portion of the market. The company asserts that users unequivocally choose it because of its superior quality.
Should the prosecutors from the Department of Justice achieve their objectives, they may request the court to mandate Google’s separation into smaller entities – a measure they refer to as “structural relief” – in the event of their victory in the case.