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Google vs.  United States: The legal battle in which the technology giant is accused of monopolizing the Internet

Google vs. United States: The legal battle in which the technology giant is accused of monopolizing the Internet

Google vs.  United States: The legal battle in which the technology giant is accused of monopolizing the Internet

This Tuesday the 12th, the trial analyzing the largest antitrust lawsuit filed against a technology giant began in the US courts. On one side is the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) and the other, Google.

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From now on, the court headed by federal judge Amit Mehta will have ten weeks of hearings in which it will receive hundreds of witnesses to decide who is right.

On the one hand, the DoJ claims that Google resorted to illegal contracts to position itself as the world’s preferred search engine. The technology giant, for its part, argues that they hold this position thanks to the quality of their service.

The tax files have been in the works for approximately three years. They have now entered a more advanced phase, but there is much more to see“, advances Trade Manuel Santillán, doctor from the European University Viadrina (Germany) and professor at the University of Lima.

More than 90% of searches carried out on the web, both from the United States and the rest of the world, are carried out through Google. The popularity of this company that emerged in 1998 is so great that even the action of searching for something on the Internet receives its name in English.

For the DoJ, the technology giant achieved this thanks to the signing of contracts with device manufacturers, mobile phone operators (such as T-Mobile or AT&T) and other companies, with which, according to the Government, it leaves little chance of competing. its rivals, such as Bing (Microsoft) and DuckDuckGo.

However, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, defends that the “success is deserved”, in the words of the company’s legal director, Kent Walker.

People don’t use Google because they have no other choice, but because they want to. It is easy to change the default search engine, we are no longer in the era of modems and CD-ROMs”says Walker.

A clear example of this, according to the legal defense of the technological giant, is the progress that Artificial Intelligence technologies are having and how Bing, for example, has incorporated functionalities based on it to enhance its search engine.

It is true that the user ultimately decides which search engine to use and which not to use. However, in the record of Google’s practices there are some that made them gain more ground than other search engines. For example, when you search on an iPhone directly, you do so through Google. This is a practice that could be considered unfair.“, considers Santillán.

Google has also tried to demonstrate that a court is not the ideal place to talk about technology. The company, which has already paid some $8.8 billion for various violations of anti-competition law in Europe, believes that the matter should be resolved in the market, among its competitors.

The attorney general of the United States, Merrick Garland, however, explained when filing the lawsuit in January of this year that Google’s practices would not only affect competition but also the end consumer.

According to Garland, Google controls the technology used by almost all websites that offer advertising space on the Internet, controls the tools used by advertisers and also controls the exchange between them and those who publish them.

Santillán highlights that the platform is increasingly less user-friendly. “Currently, when one enters search engines the first page is usually full of advertising or promoted content. We no longer have the results we used to have, which were more organic. It is becoming more and more common to go to the second page of results to get what we are really looking for. From the consumer’s perspective, this affects them”, he comments.

It is expected that the sentence, regardless of which side it is, will be appealed by the affected party. Santillán explains that in case of losing, Google would receive “an order to compensate financially and would have to make some adjustments to its algorithms”.

However, the expert points out that the effect would transcend Google itself. “It would be a signal to other companies that have a clear control over what happens on the Internet. I consider that this trial could give rise to similar ones being initiated against Zuckerberg and Meta or against Jeff Bezos’ companies, always from the same perspective of the business dominance they possess and that would ultimately harm competition or consumers.”, he argues.

Source: Elcomercio

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