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Judge Grills U.S. and Google on Antitrust Claims

The judge overseeing a landmark antitrust challenge against Google tried to pierce both sides’ arguments during closing arguments Thursday, as he weighed a decision that could reshape the tech industry.

Judge Amit P. Mehta was presiding over the first day of closing arguments in the most significant technology antitrust case since the U.S. government sued Microsoft in the late 1990s. The Justice Department sued Google, accusing it of illegally strengthening its monopoly in online search. Google has denied these allegations.

On Thursday, Justice Mehta questioned the government’s argument that Google’s dominance had harmed the quality of the online information search experience. But it also pushed Google to defend its central argument that it is not a monopoly because consumers use other companies like Amazon to search for commercial items and TikTok to search for music videos.

“I certainly don’t think the average person would say, ‘Google and Amazon are the same thing,'” Judge Mehta said.

Its decision – expected in the coming weeks or months – will help set a precedent for a series of government challenges to the size and power of tech giants. Federal regulators also filed antitrust lawsuits against Apple, Amazon and Meta, as well as a second complaint against Google over online advertising.

Before oral arguments began in a U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, Jonathan Kanter, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, contacted Kent Walker, president of global affairs at Google, for a chat.

Judge Mehta began the proceedings by questioning Kenneth Dintzer, the Justice Department’s lead attorney for the trial, about research innovation.

The government has argued that the lack of competition in the online search sector – in which it says almost 90% of all searches are done with Google – means Google does not need to invest in the quality of their research experience. But Judge Mehta told Mr Dintzer it would be difficult to “dispute that research today is very different from what it was 10 to 15 years ago” and that some of that change was due to the work of Google.

“It seems to me that it’s a difficult path for me to conclude that Google has not innovated sufficiently,” Judge Mehta said.

The Justice Department also argued that because Google had a monopoly and did not face strong competition, it did not implement privacy protections in its search engine. The judge interrupted Mr. Dintzer to say there might be a “trade-off” between privacy and the quality of research. Judge Mehta added that his challenge was how to measure whether Google had done enough to protect user privacy.

Judge Mehta pushed Google’s top litigator, John E. Schmidtlein, on the argument that companies like Amazon and ESPN are real competitors to its search engine. He noted that if he wanted to know who the shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles was in 1983, he would most likely use Google.

The judge questioned how it would be possible for another company to beat Google as the search engine that automatically powers Apple’s web browser, Safari. He posited that this might be impossible without having billions of dollars to spend building a competitive search engine and billions more to pay Apple.

Judge Mehta also questioned why Google had to pay to be the default search engine on the Web if its product was already better than those of its competitors.

Amid his exchanges with the judge, Mr. Schmidtlein offered a simple explanation: “Google wins because it’s better.” »

News Source : www.nytimes.com
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Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe.Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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