During a high-stakes antitrust trial, a Google lawyer, John Schmidtlein, reportedly said that companies choose Google as their default search engine not because of a lack of competition but because it is simply the best option available.
Making his opening statements Tuesday (Sept. 12) at the start of the trial, Schmidtlein said that users prefer Google because it delivers value, not because they are forced to use it, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. He added that users have more search options and ways to access information online than ever before.
Schmidtlein also refuted claims by U.S. Justice Department antitrust enforcers that Google has illegally blocked rivals using its market power, according to the report.
He argued that users can switch search engines if they prefer another option, the report said. For instance, despite Microsoft pre-selecting its own search engine, Bing, on Windows PCs, most users still choose Google because they find it to be a superior product, Schmidtlein said, per the report. Similarly, Apple and Mozilla have chosen default search engines based on business considerations and revenue-sharing agreements.
The trial aims to determine whether Google has unlawfully monopolized the online search market, per the report. Schmidtlein argued that Google’s size does not automatically guarantee its victory in the market, as users access the web through various channels, and Google competes with other online sites such as TikTok and Facebook.
Critics have accused Google of paying billions to maintain its search monopoly, according to the report. The Justice Department and 52 attorneys general allege that Google has engaged in exclusive deals with web browsers, smartphone makers and wireless providers to secure its position as the default search engine.
Google’s dominance in the search market has also attracted international attention, with the company facing multiple probes and significant fines for abuses of dominance overseas, the report said.
The beginning of Google’s trial on federal antitrust charges marks a historic event in the tech world. It has been two decades since the company’s dominance in the sector began, but now the internet’s largest search engine is standing before Judge Amit Mehta in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to answer the government’s charges.