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Google’s Pichai Defends Default Search Engine Payments in Antitrust Trial

 |  October 30, 2023

During the most extensive U.S. antitrust case in 25 years, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, testified in defense of the company’s practice of paying Apple and other tech giants to designate Google as the default search engine on their devices. Pichai argued that this approach aimed to provide users with a “seamless and easy” experience, reported ABC News.

The Department of Justice has alleged that Google employs these payments to lock out rival search engines, stifling competition and innovation in the industry. According to court documents submitted by the government last week, these payments exceeded $26 billion in 2021.

Google’s position is that its dominant market position is a result of the superior quality of its search engine.

Read more: Google Accuses India’s Competition Commission of Protecting Amazon

Pichai, who serves as the key witness for Google’s defense, testified on Monday that the payments made to phone manufacturers and wireless companies were not solely intended to secure Google as the primary search engine but also to encourage these entities to invest in expensive security enhancements and other device improvements.

Google’s revenue comes from users clicking on advertisements displayed in its search results, and the company shares this revenue with Apple and other firms that designate Google as their default search engine.

This antitrust case, the most significant since the Department of Justice pursued Microsoft’s dominance in internet browsers 25 years ago, was initiated in 2020 during the Trump administration. The trial, which commenced on September 12, is being held in U.S. District Court in Washington DC.

US District Judge Amit Mehta is not expected to issue a verdict until early next year. If Google is found to have violated the law, a subsequent trial will determine measures to curb the company’s market power, potentially including prohibiting payments to Apple and other firms to secure Google as the default search engine.

Source: ABC News