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Google, US Justice Dept wrap up closing arguments about whether search engine is a monopoly
Photo Courtesy: File image by Gregory Varnum via Wikimedia Commons

Google, US Justice Dept wrap up closing arguments about whether search engine is a monopoly

| @indiablooms | 04 May 2024, 03:05 pm

Washington/IBNS: American multinational technology company Google and the United States Department of Justice on Friday (May 3) made the final arguments over claims that the Alphabet, Google's parent unit, has unlawfully dominated web search and related advertising, in a case the US government contends could shape the “future of the internet", reports said.

According to reports, the fate of Google’s search business is now in the hands of US District Judge Amit Mehta, as he will now begin preparing to render a major decision on whether the tech giant's conduct broke civil antitrust law.

However, the judge did not indicate when he would rule, but according to experts, he could potentially order changes to Google's business practices.

The US Justice Department and plaintiff states wrapped up their closing arguments Thursday on Google’s alleged anticompetitive conduct in the general search market, and on Friday, the arguments were focused on the company's allegedly illegal conduct in search advertising, reports The Verge.

Meanwhile, Google was also under fire in a separate case for failing to retain chat messages that the Department of Justice (DoJ) believes could have been relevant to the case.

On Friday, District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington quizzed both sides for hours, investigating whether competitive platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Instagram and ByteDance’s TikTok are competitive substitutes for search advertising dollars.

According to Reuters, District Judge Mehta said a central issue was platform “substitute-ability” for advertisers, which the court must resolve.

The Judge also questioned whether Google assesses competitors’ pricing before making its own adjustments, as the multinational tech corporation's advertising business is responsible for about three quarters of its revenue.

Meanwhile, the DoJ has hammered away at Google, contending the search engine giant is a monopolist that illegally abused its power to boost profits.

The matter started in October, 2020 after the DoJ along with 11 state Attorneys General filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google to stop it from unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the search and search advertising markets.

Later in December, three more states joined the suit against the tech giant.

The trial in the case began on Sept 12 last year.

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