Google is a good competitor: How Google has monopolized Google for 10 years? A court motion opposing Judge Mehta in the Google search case
If Google prevails, the company will likely be able to continue its same business dealings for the time being. It’s not clear how Judge Mehta would sanction Google if he ruled against the Justice Department. The fines could be anything from the end of exclusive agreements to company restructuring.
Along with Pichai, Google is planning to call at least 10 other witnesses. The trial is expected to last until the end of the month. There is no jury and the presiding judge will give a final ruling in the bench trial.
The way Google has done that is through exclusive agreements with device makers, web browsers and mobile carriers, like Apple, Mozilla and AT&T, the Justice Department says. It’s said that it’s hard for rivals to compete against the size of Google and that consumers will only be able to choose from a list of other options.
The Google version of this case is simple, really. Google’s search engine is a good product, it says. Even though Pichai runs a company that makes the web accessible to billions of people all over the world, it is still the same one that took over the web.
When he first joined the company in 2004, his job involved working on the Google search toolbar. He led the team that built the company’s Chrome browser, which features more of a focus on searching than anything else.
Google began its defense last Thursday and is expected to continue to hit on this same idea over the next three weeks. There is no one more qualified to speak about its search products than CEO Sundar Pichai.
Microsoft has failed to invest, has failed to innovate in a way that is comparable to the other major search engines, and has no idea how to use scale.
In opening statements on September twelfth, the lead lawyer of the Justice Department said that there was a monopoly for more than a decade. The advantage will always be theirs if the rules are set by the company.
It became so pervasive that The New York Times and other major news organizations filed a court motion imploring the judge to ensure the case was conducted in an open courtroom.
While some information about Google’s business dealings came out in court, a lot was presented behind closed doors. Only half of that was open to the public. Throughout the course of the trail, Google continually fought to seal documents and shutter proceedings in public court.
Executives from other smaller search engines, like DuckDuckGo and Neeva also testified that Google’s exclusive deals effectively quashed their potential to gain market share.
“Everybody talks about the open web, but there is really the Google web,” Nadella said during his testimony. The distribution advantage can’t change because it’s still there.
Many other witnesses were called by the Justice Department. They included Microsoft’s CEO who testified that he tried for years to have Apple switch to Microsoft’s Bing default browser on its devices. Even a company as big as Microsoft could not compete without being able to do that.
“The Microsoft case was, at the time, talked about as the case of the century,” said John Kwoka, a Northeastern University economics professor who researches antitrust. “So we have a new case, a new potential landmark case, since that was the last century.”
For the past six weeks, the Justice Department and dozens of top state prosecutors have tried to prove that Google illegally used its monopoly power to ensure its search engine remained on top.
If you think about it, a trial focusing on a company’s dominance in a certain year won’t bring up Internet Explorer in the past. You wouldn’t be right.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai spent a good chunk of Monday in a DC courtroom, testifying as part of the ongoing US v. Google antitrust trial. He was at a podium, with a magnifying glass, pushing his glasses up on his head, as he looked at all the exhibits at the binder. One exhibit proved particularly interesting: a letter from Google’s then-top lawyer David Drummond, sent on July 22nd, 2005, to Microsoft’s then-general counsel Brad Smith.
Drummond’s letter concerned the launch of Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, the new browser that would have its first beta release five days later. (Not long after, Pichai and a small team would start to work on Google’s own browser, Chrome, which eventually crushed Internet Explorer entirely.) There is a small search bar on the right of the browser’s URL bar. By default, anyone who typed in that search bar and hit enter would look for something on the internet.
According to Pichai, search is a fast-changing product and only becomes more complicated over time. He made the case that Search, Android, and Chrome are not only good products, but are good for the internet as a whole because they’re open-source products that make people use the web more. “People use Android to build smartphones at prices as low as $30,” Pichai said, “and it’s what has helped bring hundreds of millions of people online.”
Bellshaw went back to the DOJ’s stance of hammering home the importance of defaults in his questioning. She asked Pichai a version of the question “You believe defaults are valuable, right?” over and over throughout her questioning. She showed the boss an email she received in which she was told that when people switched browsers, they did 15% more searches and did 26% less. An email summary of a meeting with Pichai and others in the leadership team read that Nitin argued that focusing on home page market share was the most effective way to make gains in search market share.
The money Google spends to be that default — which we now know to have been roughly $26.3 billion in 2021 alone — was a key focus of Pichai’s testimony, as it has been throughout the trial. During Schmidtlein’s questioning, Pichai argued that the deals are about more than just money. Google uses the rev-share structure to incentivize Android OEMs like Samsung, HTC, and Motorola to promote their devices, he said, and even maintain them better over time. (When Judge Amit Mehta asked how that worked, Pichai said Google makes some of its rev-share money dependent on devices getting security updates. He said some partners had to spend more time and money developing the next version. Sometimes they make tradeoffs.
The company says that these deals are a good deal and that it spends a lot on them. It is the only way to compete, and they make more people do more searches, everyone in the deal gets paid, and it is a complex and fast- moving landscape. It’s a business move, in other words, and there’s a big difference between a business move you don’t like and one that’s illegal. The DOJ, on the other hand, says Google uses its platforms and partners as a wedge to keep out any possible competition. And that it has become exactly the monopolistic monster that it decried nearly two decades ago.