Google Monopoly Case Heads to Trial

Google Monopoly Case Heads to Trial

( – On October 20, 2020, Justice Department attorneys filed a 64-page civil complaint against Google LLC for allegedly using its dominance over online searches to illegally throttle its competition. After nearly three years of waiting, the filing of dozens of documents, the participation of scores of participants (including all 50 states, the District of Colombia, and the territory of Guam), and the entry of hundreds of pages of evidence, the trial is finally set to begin on Tuesday, September 12.

The anti-monopoly case will be the first antitrust suit tried in the internet era in a federal courthouse. Judge Amit P. Mehta, a former President Barack Obama nominee, will preside over the trial in his courtroom in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Court watchers expect fireworks to take place during the trial.

The Trial of the Century?

The enormity and significance of this trial takes a little explaining. Styled as the U.S. and Plaintiff States v. Google LLC [2020], the complaint ultimately consolidated five other cases with the one filed by the Justice Department’s Antitrust division. The plaintiff states include Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, Texas, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Dozens of entities filed documents in the case, including all 50 states, the District of Colombia, the Territory of Guam, Apple, AT&T, Samsung America, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Yelp, and others. Those filings represented the interests of plaintiffs or the lone defendant, non-party and third-party defendants and petitioners, movants, and, in one instance — an “interested party.”

The New York Times reported that a case of this magnitude over the power of a Big Tech company hasn’t “unfolded” since the DOJ sued Microsoft for antitrust violations in 1998. The newspaper noted the subsequent rise of companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook’s parent company Meta and the fact they have “woven themselves” into the fabric of American society to an “even greater degree” than Bill Gates.

The NY Times also predicted that the trial court’s ruling could have “broad ripple effects” impacting — “or potentially dismantling” — some of the world’s largest Big Tech companies after they wielded unrestrained powers over users, leading to the internet giants’ “unbridled growth.”

The Substance of the Case

The Justice Department’s case focuses on whether or not Google LLC cemented its dominance over competitors in violation of antitrust laws by paying Apple and other Big Tech companies to make its search engine the default for their smartphones, tablets, other devices, and platforms. Google’s attorneys counter that allegation by claiming those deals weren’t exclusive, and consumers maintained the ability to alter their devices’ default settings to choose other search engines.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for the Big Tech giant’s $1.7 trillion empire and dominance over online searches. University of Georgia Law School professor Laura Phillips-Sawyer told The New York Times that the outcome of this “pivotal case” is an opportunity for the government to “create precedents” for other Big Tech companies and emerging platforms that “lend themselves to real and durable market power.”

Judge Metha set aside 10 weeks for the parties to present their witnesses and evidence.

Copyright 2023,