Antitrust trial: Why has the US Justice Dept sued Google?
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Antitrust trial: Why has the US Justice Dept sued Google?

Antitrust trial: Why has the US Justice Dept sued Google?

The antitrust trial is a landmark case and centers on allegations that Google has engaged in monopolistic practices

Gulf Business
Google - Big Tech

In what is being called the biggest anti-trust trial in the past 20 years, the US Department of Justice has sued Alphabet-owned Google. The search engine giant has been taken to court by the US government for allegedly carrying out monopolistic practices.

Here are the top facts about the case that holds immense importance and consequences for the technology sector in the US and beyond.

1. What is the Google antitrust trial about?

The antitrust trial is a landmark case being heard in Washington district court. It centers on allegations that Google has engaged in monopolistic practices within the online search space. The US Department of Justice filed the suit in 2020, marking a significant legal challenge to the power of big tech companies.

2. Why is this case important?

This case represents one of the most substantial legal challenges against big tech companies in decades. It could set a precedent for future actions against industry monopolies and has major implications for the technology sector’s power and influence.

3. What are the specific allegations?

The US Department of Justice has accused Google of using its market dominance to unfairly exclude competitors and establish itself as a gatekeeper of the internet. The case alleges that the web search platform’s actions have harmed rivals and competition in the online search space.

4. How has Google responded to these allegations?

Google has denied wrongdoing in both this case and another brought by the attorneys general of 38 states and territories concerning monopoly concerns in advertising.

5. What happened at the recent hearing?

Judge Amit P Mehta, in filings unsealed last month, dismissed some charges, narrowing the case. However, he allowed more significant charges to proceed, including allegations that the search engine’s exclusive contracts with phone manufacturers harmed competitors.

6. What is the significance of Google’s market share and advertising spend mentioned in the case?

According to the judge, Google had nearly 90 per cent of market share in 2020, and advertisers spend over $80bn annually to reach general search users. These statistics are used to emphasise its dominant position in the online search market.

7. What does it mean for a company with monopoly power to act unlawfully?

The judge highlighted that a company with a monopoly must stifle competition to act unlawfully. This implies that the government needs to demonstrate that each specific action taken by Google, such as how it handles search advertising, violates antitrust law.

8. What is Google’s response to the judge’s decision?

Kent Walker, Google’s chief legal officer, stated that they look forward to demonstrating at trial that promoting and distributing their services is both legal and pro-competitive, in response to the judge’s decision. This information is based on the latest available reports and may be subject to updates as the trial progresses.

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