DOJ, Google to present closing arguments in antitrust trial

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Google will present closing arguments Thursday and Friday in the government’s case alleging the tech giant has illegally maintained and operated a monopoly in the online search market.

The closing arguments will bring Google and the DOJ back to U.S. District Court after concluding a 10-week trial in November that focused on the ways Google has maintained its dominance in the market.

A central component of the allegations brought by the DOJ, along with a coalition of state attorneys general, centers on agreements Google has reached with partners, such as Apple, to be the default search engine on devices. That debate will likely emerge as a prominent point in the closing arguments.

Google has pushed back strongly on allegations of anticompetitive behavior through the agreements. Google’s main defense is that its search engine is better, which is how it maintains its dominance and secures agreements with partners to be the default service.

“We are working very, very hard; for any given query we provide the best experience,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during his testimony in October. “That’s always been our true north.”

But the DOJ’s closing arguments will likely highlight how the government believes Google failed to explain why the company paid to secure the default agreements.

During the trial, it was revealed that Google paid $26 billion in 2021 to secure its position as a default search engine on mobile phones and web browsers.

The allegations of anticompetitive behavior in the case also focus on the business Google has built through its dominance in the search market and in the search advertising market.

The closing arguments in front of Judge Amit Mehta, who has been hearing the case, will be separated by topic across Thursday and Friday. Thursday’s arguments will focus on allegations in general search, and Friday will focus on search advertising.

The case before Mehta is focused solely on liability. Once a decision is reached, potential remedies will be considered.

The trial is one of two antitrust cases the DOJ has filed against Google. The department also has a case focused on Google’s dominance in the digital advertising market. Google has also pushed back on those allegations.

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