Alphabet’s Google pays more than $10 billion a year to maintain its position as the default search engine on web browsers and mobile devices, stifling competition, the US Justice Department said Tuesday at the start of a high-stakes antitrust trial in Washington. From a report: “This case is about the future of the internet and whether Google’s search engine will ever face meaningful competition,” Kenneth Dintzer, a government lawyer, said in his opening statement. “The evidence will show they demanded default exclusivity to block rivals.” Dintzer said Google became a monopoly by at least 2010 and today controls more than 89% of the online search market.
“The company pays billions for defaults because they are uniquely powerful,” he said. “For the last 12 years, Google has abused its monopoly in general search.” The monopolization trial is the first pitting the federal government against a US technology company in more than two decades. The Justice Department and 52 attorneys general from states and US territories allege Google illegally maintained its monopoly by paying billions to tech rivals, smartphone makers and wireless providers in exchange for being set as the preselected option or default on mobile phones and web browsers.