USA: Antitrust trial against Google has begun

A trial began in a federal court in Washington on Tuesday over allegations of monopolistic practices by Google. This is the most important such case in over two decades and limits Microsoft’s position.

The lawsuit concerns accusations brought by federal prosecutors and state prosecutors in almost every state in 2020, alleging that Google illegally used its market position to limit competition in its core businesses, search engines and online advertising. The practices examined include: Google paying electronic device manufacturers and telecommunications operators to install the company’s search engine as the default search engine.

“This case is about the future of the Internet and whether Google’s search engine will ever face significant competition,” said Kenneth Dintzer, a lawyer representing the Department of Justice, quoted by the AP.

As the Washington Post writes, the technological giant’s trial – the first of its kind since 2001, when Microsoft was sued – is generating so much interest that the court has allocated an additional space outside the courtroom for its observation. It will take months, and the verdict will probably not be issued until next year. If the court finds that Google broke the law, there will be another trial to determine next steps. Wired estimates that a possible failure of the company may mean a ban on using certain business strategies or an order to sell part of the company.

In their lawsuit, prosecutors noted that Google has a monopoly position on the Internet search market – it controls 89 percent. market – and advertising (88 percent of text ads) and that through its practices it was trying to maintain its dominance and suppress existing and potential competition.

Google argues that despite its position, it faces real competition, such as Microsoft’s Bing search engine or search engines on Amazon’s websites, and their dominance is the result of continuous product improvement. During the trial, there will be, among others: the head of Google, Sundar Pichai, as well as members of the management of companies such as Apple and Samsung.

According to the Washington Post, even if the trial does not end in Google’s defeat, it may force a change in the giant’s practices, just as it happened after the settlement concluded in 2001 between the prosecutor’s office and Microsoft. As noted by Gary Reback, a lawyer involved in the case, quoted by the newspaper, the case limited Microsoft’s anti-competitive activities, which allowed, among other things, the emergence of new competitors, such as Google, Amazon and Facebook.

From Washington Oskar Górzyński (PAP)

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