Washington – The Department of Justice will begin presenting its antitrust case against Google’s search agreements in federal district court Tuesday. The government will need to prove that Google dominates the search market and agreements with platforms from mobile devices to browsers to promote Google search are illegal and harm consumers.
To win, the government would have to show that these types of contracts that were negotiated in the marketplace, and are legal for other industries, are illegal here. Judge Mehta tossed many previous allegations during a pretrial hearing as not having legal merit, and said these types of contracts are not exclusive on their face and don’t stop consumers from switching default search engines. However, the DOJ is expected to argue that these agreements for Google to be the default browser make it difficult for rival search engines to attract internet users.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated for competition in the tech industry for more than 50 years, having aligned with the DOJ in past cases, including the IBM, AT&T and Microsoft cases.
The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:
“While there will be lots of noise around this case, at the end of the trial, this will be decided on the facts and the law. U.S. antitrust laws do not protect competitors from their competition; they protect consumers from harm from anticompetitive or exclusionary conduct from a company with monopoly power.
“None of the practices on trial have blocked consumers from products. Other search services such as Bing and DuckDuckGo are very much available for consumers.
“While competitors may have pressured the DOJ to take on this case, it is not strong, and this leaves the DOJ making arguments that are highly attenuated from consumers’ welfare.”
For additional background information on the legal issues at stake and what DOJ will need to prove to win, please see our blog post.