Google pays billions to maintain search engine defaults, US DOJ says

Kareem Anderson

Google - antitrust

According to a new report from Bloomberg, The US Department of Justice opened up its initial arguments in a suit against Google on Thursday that the search engine giant maintains its default status on products through illegal payments that total in the billions.

While the famed US antitrust suit against Google isn’t scheduled to begin until 2023, the DOJ and Google met with federal judge Amit Mehta to walkthrough the technical minutia of the case. During the initial meeting, the DOJ spent much of the time claiming that through a series of financial agreements with companies such as Samsung and Apple, Google has effectively cut out any direct competition. In addition, Google has taken its dominant position to leverage preferential traffic with sponsored results versus more organic searches to competitors such as Yelp.

According to DOJ attorney Kenneth Dintzer, “Google invests billions in defaults, knowing people won’t change them. They are buying default exclusivity because defaults matter a lot. Dintzer reiterates that Google’s current business practice and position is “enormous” and “concerning”

Defending itself, Google attorney John Schmidtlein argued a familiar talking point which focused on the ease of selecting alternative search options for users while the company fends off competition from Facebook, TikTok, and Amazon.

The judge will have some time to consider the arguments as there is no hard date in place for the trail to officially begin, and the vague timeframe of sometime in 2023 has given Google some time to reconsider the way it could restructure its ad business in relation to its other endeavors.