Google Claims It Has a Monopoly on Search Because Users Prefer It

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is happy
Boris Streubel /Getty

Google has an argument against allegations that it maintains an illegal monopoly: the internet giant claims it is simply the best, and an overwhelming number of users choose it for that reason.

In opening arguments in the government’s landmark antitrust trial against the tech giant, Google’s lawyers argued that its market advantage is a result of the value it offers to consumers — not a result of backroom deals like the $20 billion it pays to Apple annually to be the default search engine on Safari browsers, or the agreements with Android phone manufacturers that forbid them from pre-installing search engines that aren’t Google’s.

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome, speaks at Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco on 28 June 2012

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, speaks at Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco on 28 June 2012 ( KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/GettyImages )

Google is chosen by users “because it delivers value to them, not because they have to,” said John Schmidtlein, a partner at Williams & Connolly LLP who is representing the company. “Users today have more search options and ways to access information online than ever before.”

This argument  — that competition is “just a click away” — is often repeated by advocates for the tech giants.

Government lawyer Kenneth Dintzer told the court that things are not that simple.

“The company pays billions for defaults because they are uniquely powerful,” said Dintzer, referring to Google’s agreements with Apple and other companies.

Pointing to Google’s overwhelming market share in search — nearly 90 percent — Dintzer said the company has been a monopoly since 2010, and has abused its position in the market.

The Department of Justice has been joined in its lawsuit by attorneys general from all 52 states and territories of the U.S., in what analysts are calling the most significant antitrust trial since the government sued Microsoft at the beginning of the millennium.

The stakes are high for Google if it loses at trial. Potential penalties range from restrictions on its ability to cut deals with other tech companies to advance its search monopoly, to a full breakup of the company.

The case is United States v. Google, 1:20-cv-03010 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election. Follow him on Twitter @AllumBokhari


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