US District Judge Amit Mehta on Monday set a status hearing on the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google for Friday, October 30.
The Justice Department last week sued the $1 trillion (roughly Rs. 73,76,000 crores) company and accused it of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals in the biggest challenge to the power and influence of Big Tech in decades.
Mehta said lawyers for Google and the Justice Department must appear at the telephone status hearing at 10am EDT (7:30pm IST) that will be open to the public or media.
The Justice Department lawsuit could lead to the break-up of an iconic company that has become all but synonymous with the internet and assumed a central role in the day-to-day lives of billions of people around the globe.
Such an outcome is far from assured, however, and the case is likely to take years to resolve.
The lawsuit marks the first time the US has cracked down on a major tech company since it sued Microsoft for anti-competitive practices in 1998. A settlement left the company intact, though the government’s prior foray into Big Tech anti-trust, the 1974 case against AT&T, led to the breakup of the Bell System.
The federal government’s complaint against Alphabet, which alleges that Google acted unlawfully to maintain its position in search and search advertising on the Internet, was joined by 11 states. “Absent a court order, Google will continue executing its anticompetitive strategy, crippling the competitive process, reducing consumer choice, and stifling innovation,” the lawsuit states.
The government said Google has nearly 90 percent of all general search engine queries in the United States and almost 95 percent of searches on mobile.
Attorney General Bill Barr said his investigators had found Google does not compete on the quality of its search results but instead bought its success through payments to mobile phone makers and others.
“The end result is that no one can feasibly challenge Google’s dominance in search and search advertising,” Barr said.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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