Since Sept. 12th, the Department of Justice has questioned over 30 witnesses to try and prove that
In a landmark trial, the government alleged that the company violated antitrust laws. This could have a significant impact on the technology industry. Now that the government has concluded its case in this case, U.S. and others, it is time for Google to mount its defense. Google, a case that will be heard by the internet giant this week.
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The government's case has two main threads: what Google is accused of doing to maintain its illegal search and search advertising monopoly and how these practices harm consumers and advertisers. The main arguments are outlined.
How Google kept its online search dominance going
The competition will be crushed by billions of dollars.
The Justice Department stated on the first trial day that Google paid Apple and other tech companies more than $10 billion per year to be the default search engine.
The government used this evidence as the main argument to prove that Google had broken the law when it signed multi-billion dollar contracts to become the default search engine on the internet in order to maintain its monopoly. The Justice Department was able to set the tone of the trial with the shocking value of these deals. Since then, the $10 billion figure has become a major issue. The Justice Department called witnesses who claimed that Google's default deals were so rich they made it impossible for them to compete. Satya Nadella,
The CEO of, testified in court that he had tried to convince Apple to change its default search engine to Bing nearly every year -- but failed.
Google default agreements made it nearly impossible for users to find its competitor search engine.
The Justice Department displayed documents from Google, in which employees discussed the power of default settings to keep competitors at bay. The company counters that anyone could easily turn on the defaults.
Google's size makes it impossible to compete.
The Justice Department also circling around the idea that Google’s immense scale distorts competitive landscape and keeps even wealthy rivals out of search engine business – which further empowers Google. Kenneth Dintzer said that the Justice Department's leading courtroom attorney, Kenneth Dintzer stated in his opening remarks, "This feedback cycle, this wheel has been spinning for more than twelve years." "And it's always to Google’s advantage." Nadella was a star witness for the government and he called the web the "Google Web" saying that his company, which is a large search engine, had not been able to compete with Google. Amit Mehta asked Sridhar Ramaswamy - a former Google executive and founder of a rival search engine, Neeva - why Google paid Apple and other companies. Ramaswamy responded, "The payments make the ecosystem extremely resistant to change."
Google's Search Dominance is Hurting People
Google denies consumers the ability to choose.
Lawyers for the government said that Google's dominance of search has led to lower-quality products being delivered to customers. The government stated that, if Google were to compete with other search engine providers, consumers would have better access to privacy-friendly services. According to government lawyers, Google currently monitors its users in order to target them more effectively with ads that boost the bottom line. The government called DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg to testify in order to make its case. DuckDuckGo claims it collects less data from its users than Google. Weinberg stated that his company had a difficult time getting its search engine to users due to Google's control of default search engines. DuckDuckGo sought to make deals with Mozilla, which makes Firefox, and Apple, so that it could be the default search provider in private mode of the browsers, Weinberg testified. He said that the contracts between Google and these companies were "the main thing" that prevented them from negotiating with DuckDuckGo. Google counters that it constantly improves its search engine and adds features to enhance the experience of consumers.
Google's search dominance gives it power over online advertising.
The government claims that Google's dominance in search allows it to influence the market for the ads that run along with the links that are displayed in response to the user's query. Joshua Lowcock testified that, at one point, his company had calculated Google's search share at 88%, while Bing's was just over 6%. This dominance made Google ads more attractive to clients of the company and less useful for Bing ads, said Lowcock. The government called major advertisers such as Home Depot and JPMorgan Chase for their testimony on the importance of Google search advertising. Arjan Dijk is a former Google executive and now the head of marketing at Booking.com. He said that Google's search advertising gave Booking.com access to a "exclusive, dominating" pool customers.
This allows Google to increase ad rates.
The Justice Department has questioned Google employees about whether they could inflate prices for search advertisements because marketers are limited in their options to spend money elsewhere. In a 2019 email, Jerry Dischler a Google executive wrote to a co-worker that the company could miss its revenue targets. He wrote that if the company wanted to avoid scaring Wall Street, it should tweak aspects of its product to increase search queries and ad revenues. Jeff Hurst - the former chief executive officer of Expedia - cited the example of Vrbo, Expedia's vacation rental website, as proof that Google can raise prices without providing more value to advertisers. Hurst said that in 2015, Vrbo paid $21 million for Google search ads which generated about 500 million visits online to Vrbo. Vrbo paid Google approximately $290 million in search advertising by 2019. This was for the same amount of traffic that Vrbo received four years prior. Hurst stated that they had spent "a heckuva lot more" with Google, but received no incremental benefits. A Google lawyer pointed out that Expedia and Vrbo have grown and prospered in the past year, and Expedia has shifted its focus to generate traffic directly through its mobile apps.