The US government on Thursday (November 16) concluded main arguments in antitrust case against Alphabet-owned Google. This has concluded the evidentiary phase of the case in which Google finds itself accused of breaking antitrust law in order to lead the market.
The US Justice Department has tried to prove that the tech giant is a monopolist company that has illegally abused its power.
Reuters reported that Judge Amit Mehta from US District Court for District of Columbia said that he was undecided about his ultimate decision. He set the date for the closing arguments for early May.
The case against Google was filed by the Trump administration. It is the first against such cases against tech giants that aim to rein these companies. A case against Meta was also filed during former US president Donald Trump’s tenure.
Antitrust enforcers under the Biden administration have filed a case against Amazon and also a second case against Google.
MIT economics professor Michael Whinston, a government witness said during the hearing that he did not agree with Google when it said that it had to overcome competition from Microsoft in order for its own operating system (OS) to be exclusively pre-installed on smartphones. He said that payments totaling to USD 26.3 billion made by Google to Apple and others were monopoly profits paid to distributors.
“Google made a lot of profit on these contracts,” he said as quoted by Reuters.
According to the figures it reported, Alphabet got a net profit of USD 19.69 billion in July to September quarter. This was up from a profit of USD 13.91 billion it reported last for the same quarter.
Whinston said that Google has 90 per cent of the market share in US and has little incentive to improve quality.
“When there’s not a competitive threat, they’re not making that investment. And quality is lower,” Whinston said under questioning from Adam Severt of the Justice Department.
John Schmidtlein, lawyer representing Google, argued that payments made by Google were legal-revenue sharing deals which were a result of competition. These payments, he said were focused on keeping users’ data secure.
(With inputs from agencies)