US v. Google: all the news from the search antitrust showdown

After three years, a Washington, DC, judge will hear the Department of Justice’s potentially landmark antitrust case against Google. The department alleges Google struck anticompetitive deals with Apple and other companies for prime placement of its search engine, while Google contends its dominant market share is the result of a superior product. It’s the biggest tech antitrust trial since the US took on Microsoft in the 1990s: 10 weeks that could tip the balance of power online.

  • “Defaults matter, but they’re not determinative.”

    If you want a one-sentence summary of Google’s arguments ahead of the start of US v. Google today, that one — from Kent Walker, the company’s president of global affairs — does the job pretty well. This issue of Platformer from a few days ago does a good job of running down both sides of the story we’re going to hear over the next 10 weeks. Is Google great, or is it just unavoidable? We’ll find out.

  • An illustration of the Google logo.

    An illustration of the Google logo.

    This morning, the US Department of Justice and Google will begin a 10-week showdown that’s been widely (and appropriately) compared to the Microsoft browser antitrust trial of the 1990s. The Justice Department and a coalition of states allege that Google has maintained its dominance in search by striking expensive deals with browser and phone makers — most prominently Apple, which Google has reportedly paid billions of dollars for default placement in Safari.

    The case, originally filed in 2020, could determine the future of Google at a pivotal moment for the company. A loss for Google could signal a new era of tougher antitrust enforcement as the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission pursue cases against nearly every “Big Tech” company. It could also tip the balance of power in a growing AI arms race. But it comes on the heels of some notable losses for US monopoly watchdogs, who have struggled to meet the consumer welfare standard that governs antitrust policy. The trial will stretch for months, but here’s what to expect as the first day begins.

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  • An illustration of Google’s multicolor “G” logo

    An illustration of Google’s multicolor “G” logo

    This is Platformer, a newsletter on the intersection of Silicon Valley and democracy from Casey Newton and Zoë Schiffer. Sign up here.

    Today, let’s talk about the US government’s first major antitrust trial against a tech giant in a generation. If the Justice Department succeeds in its case against Google, it could lead to radical change around the web. But almost three years after the case was filed, it’s not clear that the government lawyers will be able to bend antitrust law far enough to secure a victory.

    Read Article >

  • A federal judge says three Apple executives have to testify in the government’s Google antitrust case.

    Lawyers for Eddie Cue, John Giannandrea, and Adrian Perica argued that “traveling 3,000 miles across the country from Northern California to testify at a bench trial” is “unduly burdensome” and would “risk disclosure of Apple’s sensitive commercial information.”

    US District Judge Amit Mehta denied their petition and says they must testify at the trial, writes Reuters, which is scheduled to begin September 12th. The trial will decide if Google has monopolistic power in the online ads space.


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