On Tuesday, Google completed two and a half weeks of defending its search business against the Department of Justice’s antitrust claims. reported with a whimper.
During the DOJ’s trial of Google’s final witness, Kevin Murphy, the economist was “outraged” when the DOJ revealed a 2011 email from a former Google executive, Chris Barton, which suggested that Google’s default search agreements included wireless cars. , mobile device. manufacturers, and search partners are to be “exclusive,” Big Tech on Research reportedor else they are worthless.
“Without exception, we receive nothing,” Barton’s email said. “Without an exclusive search agreement, the big carrier can and will place alternatives to Google.”
Google has argued that these deals are not exclusive but are reasonable agreements that Google has competed for fairly and repeatedly won by making our search engine the best, Big Tech on Research reported.
Murphy’s testimony was supposed to bolster this part of Google’s defense, but as Google’s defense was undermined, the DOJ appeared determined to remind Judge Amit Mehta that the alleged evidence showed that these improper transactions were key to sustaining the alleged illegal monopolies. Google has search and advertising. . By the time the DOJ began their line of questioning, Murphy was probably already eager to get off the hot seat.
Big Tech on Investigative Reporter Lee Hepner—who also serves as antitrust counsel for the nonprofit American Business Freedom Service—posted on X (formerly Twitter) to summarize Murphy’s evidence as arguing, “Only Google search is good for you, user choice is ‘unfair,’ and privacy is bad quality.”
The day before, Murphy was able to bolster the DOJ’s case by accidentally leaking a key figure that Google and Apple had specifically requested remain confidential—ensuring that Apple received a 36 percent cut of search advertising revenue from its Safari business. Google.
Google seems to have sought to redact this information from Murphy’s trial transcript, but Mehta “judged against releasing transcripts of information that had been accidentally disclosed (about 36 percent of the Google-Apple revenue share) finding no harm.” competition,” Big Tech on Research reported. Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, during another Google monopoly investigation, confirmed on Tuesday that the 36 percent figure shared by Murphy was correct, Bloomberg reported.
Although it’s still unclear exactly how much money Apple is getting from its default deal with Google, it’s clear that the default settings in Safari are most useful to Google. Experts estimate that with such a significant income distribution, the Safari contract could be worth tens of billions of dollars to Apple, on top of the $18 billion that Google pays annually to keep the business in place.
In the coming days, the DOJ will present its response to Google’s arguments.
Mehta is expected to rule next year “after both parties summarize their cases in writing and deliver closing arguments,” The New York Times reported. Currently it is difficult to tell which way the judge is leaning. Big Tech on Trial reporter Yosef Weitzman wrote that the judge has kept his “card close to his chest” throughout the trial.
Mehta will have to resolve the complex legal questions in the case and analyze conflicting expert analyses, Weitzman said, to confidently determine whether Google’s business model is helping or hurting consumers. While many have reported that the threat of the Mehta government against Google could be a division of Google’s search business that could shake the way the Internet works for everyone around the world, Weitzman also pointed out that Google could appeal the negative ruling, it is possible. sending the case to the Supreme Court.
The DOJ hopes that Mehta will conclude that Google is paying tens of billions not only to drive traffic to its search engine and boost search advertising revenue but also to shut out rivals who cannot compete without winning those default opportunities.
And Google is hoping that Mehta will come to its side, perhaps most importantly admitting that Google paid Apple a lot for the Safari business because, as Pichai testified earlier in this monopoly trial, Google users depend on its search engine to get results better, and Google fears that Apple may have reduced their experience in Safari without the deal, The Times reported. Instead of forcing Apple into an alleged exclusivity agreement to stop rivals from competing, Pichai testified that for Google, “there’s a lot of uncertainty about what will happen if the agreement doesn’t exist.”