Google responds to antitrust proceedings

Google is responding to allegations by the US Department of Justice that it maintains an illegal monopoly on search and search advertising.

A lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington, DC on Tuesday. Google is accused of maintaining a monopoly through several exclusive business contracts and agreements that exclude competition.

This is the single most important measure the federal government has taken against a technology company in the past 20 years.

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Google released an official response to the lawsuit calling it “deeply flawed” and claiming that it “does nothing to help consumers”.

“The Justice Department’s lawsuit today is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives. “

Google goes on to say that the lawsuit is not helping consumers but is artificially promoting alternative “lower quality” search engines.

Additionally, Google believes the lawsuit will also increase phone prices and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.

Here is a full breakdown of the DOJ’s allegations and Google’s response to each allegation.

Justice Department allegations / Google response

accusation: Google has agreements and contracts with companies to promote its services.

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Answer from google::

“Yes, like countless other companies, we pay to advertise our services, just like a grain brand might pay a supermarket to store their products at the end of a row or on a shelf at eye level.”

On Android devices, Google has advertising agreements with network operators and device manufacturers to offer its services.

This helps keep the OS free, Google says, and reduces the price people pay for Android phones.

Competing apps are often preinstalled on Android devices as well.

Google notes that it isn’t preinstalled on Windows devices, with Bing being the default search engine.

accusation: Google is paying Apple billions of dollars as the default search engine for iPhones.

Answer from google::

“Apple offers Google Search in its Safari browser because Google is” the best. “This agreement is not exclusive – our competitors Bing and Yahoo! pay to be prominent, and other competing services also appear.”

accusation: Google’s alleged monopoly on search and search engine advertising forces users to use their services even if they don’t want to.

Answer from google::

“The bigger point is that people don’t use Google because they have to, they use Google because they want to.

This is not the dial-up in the 1990s, when switching services was slow and difficult, and you often had to purchase and install software using a CD-ROM.

Today you can easily download your chosen apps or change your default settings in seconds – faster than moving to another aisle in the grocery store. “

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The lawsuit also alleges that Americans do not have sufficient technological knowledge to install and use Google alternatives.

Google says it doesn’t, and points out that many of the world’s most popular apps aren’t pre-installed – like Spotify, Instagram, Snapchat, Amazon, and Facebook.

What’s happening now?

According to technology policy experts at the New York Times, the historic lawsuit could stretch for several years.

By comparison, a similar lawsuit against Microsoft took over a decade to settle.

The preliminary investigation that led to this lawsuit lasted over a year.

It is therefore unlikely that we will come to a satisfactory result anytime soon, which makes this a particularly interesting story.

It’s worth noting that Attorney General William P. Barr put immense pressure on the Justice Department to file this lawsuit before Election Day.

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However, given the length of the lawsuit, reporters for the New York Times suggest that it is not politically motivated.

Sources: Google, The New York Times

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