Google goes to court

One of the biggest antitrust trials in US history kicked off yesterday (Tuesday), and this time, it’s Google in the hot seat.

What are the charges? Basically, the US Justice Department says Google has abused its power in order to make its search engine the default option.

For its part, Google says this default status is a result of its superior product, and consumers can easily switch to another search engine if they want.

Why does this matter? 

  • Google handles ~83% of the world’s internet searches
  • It’s facing probes in the EUIndiaIndonesia and beyond, and
  • If it loses at home, this could shape how the world uses the internet

Intrigue’s take: Antitrust cases don’t tend to generate as much buzz as celebrity trials, and yet District Judge Amit Mehta has had to set up overflow rooms for spectators and reporters.

But lawmakers around the world are watching too: public trials against Big Tech can set precedents anywhere, regardless of their outcome.

Also worth noting:

  • This trial is expected to run for around 10 weeks. Judge Mehta will then likely issue his ruling early next year.
  • The Justice Department is also suing Google for alleged anti-competitive conduct in digital advertising.
  • The Justice Department sued Microsoft in 1998. An eventual deal required the company to drastically change some business practices.
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