The United States government is embarking on a significant legal confrontation with tech giant Google. This courtroom battle, set to begin on Tuesday, revolves around the U.S.
Justice Department’s assertion that Google has exploited its monopoly status to dominate the search engine industry unlawfully. It represents the government’s first major monopoly case to proceed to trial in decades and the inaugural one in the era of the modern internet.
At the core of the Justice Department’s argument lies the contention that Google manipulated its business arrangements to ensure that it holds the position of the default search engine when individuals power up their phones and web browsers. The government alleges that Google’s overarching goal was to quash competition, thereby establishing itself as the preeminent choice for search.
Former Attorney General William Barr, upon filing the case in October 2020, stated that this lawsuit challenges Google’s stranglehold on the internet, impacting millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs who are beholden to this alleged unlawful monopolist.
Nearly three years have passed since the case’s inception, during which millions of documents have been produced, and over 150 individuals have been deposed. Consequently, the trial is now set to proceed.
This legal confrontation carries significant implications for how technology companies amass power and wield control over the products integrated into people’s daily lives. The verdict could usher in changes in how tech giants conduct their business, potentially reshaping the dynamics of the internet itself. Google, a company valued at $1.7 trillion, holds around 90% of the U.S. search engine market and has assembled a formidable legal team, along with external law firms, to defend its position. Google contends that its search product’s superiority is the reason behind its industry dominance, emphasizing that users are free to switch to alternative search engines if they so choose.