Google secures a partial victory in an antitrust case as Federal Judge Amit Mehta has ruled that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and key states cannot accuse Google of monopolistic behavior by promoting its own products over alternatives in search results. The decision states that the plaintiffs have failed to provide evidence of an “anticompetitive effect.” Additionally, Judge Mehta dismisses antitrust allegations concerning Android’s compatibility, anti-fragmentation agreements, Google Assistant, internet of things devices, and the Android Open Source Project.
However, Judge Mehta acknowledges that the DOJ can still present its remaining arguments. One of the main concerns is that Google is allegedly abusing its power through contracts that require Android device manufacturers to pre-load Google apps and set Google as the default search engine, hindering competitors like Bing and DuckDuckGo from gaining significant market share.
Google President of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, welcomes the judge’s decision regarding the search issues, emphasizing that users choose Google because of its usefulness. Walker asserts that the company will demonstrate in court that its other practices are both competitive and compliant with the law. Engadget has reached out to the DOJ for their response, and we will update accordingly.
The DOJ and its partner states filed the lawsuit in 2020 without specifying potential penalties. Consequences could include fines, business restrictions, or even breaking up Google into separate entities. Google defended itself by citing negotiations with partners and competition from platforms like Twitter (now X) and Expedia.
This case is not the only antitrust litigation Google is facing in the US. In 2020, a group of states sued the company over allegedly anticompetitive ad pricing. However, the narrowed scope of the current ruling may pose challenges and limit the potential damages.
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Deepak Sen is a tech enthusiast who covers the latest technological innovations, from AI to consumer gadgets. His articles provide readers with a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of technology.