Major Google antitrust trial in US set to wrap up with closing arguments

The Google building is seen in New York.
The Google building is seen in New York. Copyright Seth Wenig/AP Photo
Copyright Seth Wenig/AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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Lawyers are giving closing arguments in the major US antitrust trial.


Lawyers for the US government and Google are presenting closing arguments in the largest US antitrust case in years this week.

US District Judge Amit Mehta is set to issue a ruling in the late summer or early autumn.

If he decides Google broke the law, another trial will determine how to rein in its market power.

The judge went back and forth with Google's main litigator, John Schmidtlein, on the first day of the trial's closing arguments.

Mehta questioned whether another company had the money and data necessary to develop a search engine to compete with Google.

“It seems to be very, very unlikely, if not impossible, under the current market conditions,” Mehta said.

He added that it appeared odd to him that there is a marketplace where Google is making billions of dollars in profit yet nobody "is trying to enter into the market to cut into that profit".

Google argues search engine is 'better'

Google had an operating profit of nearly $96 billion (€89.4 billion) last year, mostly by selling digital ads, another market the company dominates.

The judge also asked how common it is for users to change default search engines.

US federal prosecutors allege that Google protects its franchise by shelling out more than $20 billion (€18.6 billion) annually to ensure its search engine automatically answers queries on Apple's iPhone and web browsers such as Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox.

Government lawyers contend that the money for default search contracts exceeds Google's investments in improving the quality of its results.

Google has long argued that it has been successful because it has engineered the best technology.

“Google is winning because it’s better,” Schmidtlein said. “Everybody who marched into this courtroom said Google was better".

Mehta also questioned the US Department of Justice over what was unusual about Google's five-year contracts with Apple.

European Android and iPhone users can now pick a default search engine or browser, with a choice screen coming up due to the Digital Markets Act.

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