Five things to know about Google antitrust trial as it reaches halfway point

The US government is nearing the halfway point in its court battle with Alphabet’s Google, which it accuses of breaking antitrust laws with tactics it uses to dominate certain aspects of online search and advertising.

In the lawsuit, which began on September 12 and lasted until approximately mid-November, the Justice Department accused Google of manipulating online auctions – a multi-billion dollar industry dominated by Google – with these formulas of its own. To favor the bottom line.

Here are five important points raised so far during the trial:

Google pays billions to maintain its search monopoly

Witnesses from Verizon, Android maker Samsung and Google testified about the company’s estimated $10 billion annual payout to ensure its search is the default on smartphones and browsers. The CEOs of two privacy-oriented search engines, DuckDuckGo and Neeva, argued that these omissions had harmed their businesses. Neeva closed this year.

Google’s James Colotouros, who negotiated search distribution agreements with Android device makers and carriers, testified that the agreements granted exclusivity to Google Search, and that Google monitored compliance with them.

Google’s search dominance led to increased advertising influence and increased prices

Google executive Adam Judah said it used a formula to determine long-term value – including ad quality – in a quarter-second auction to determine which advertiser gets to place an ad in front of a user. Will win. Advertisers are not told their LTV, he said, and Google uses “tuning” to adjust the price of ads.

Joshua Lowcock, global chief media officer for UM Worldwide, testified that Google dominates the market for searches as well as ads and that prices have increased over the past 10 years. Jerry Dischler, Google’s vice president and general manager of ads, acknowledged that Google made more than $100 billion from search ads in 2020.

Google’s huge number of search queries could be a benefit of AI

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella testified that access to search queries – like Google has at scale – would not only help it improve its own search engine Bing, but could also help it dominate artificial intelligence. Is.

He said improving artificial intelligence requires computing power, or servers, and data to train the software.

Google’s defense number. 1: We are big because we are good

Google has argued that the government is wrong to say it broke the law to capture its huge market share, saying its search engine was extremely popular because of its quality and dissatisfied users could easily switch.

Apple’s senior vice president of services, Eddie Cue, praised Google’s search and admitted during questioning that the smartphone maker had held meetings with Microsoft and DuckDuckGo, which uses Bing searches but found them inadequate.

Google’s defense number. 2: Defaults aren’t that useful

While Google pays billions of dollars a year to be the default search engine on Apple and Android devices, its lawyers have argued that being the default doesn’t actually mean it will stick around even if users are dissatisfied.

John Schmidlein, Google’s chief counsel, said Microsoft’s success in becoming the default on some Verizon phones in 2008 and BlackBerry and Nokia devices in 2011 ended with users bypassing Bing and doing most of their searches on Google.

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