WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – A US judge hearing the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit accusing Google of illegally maintaining monopolies in the Internet search market has upheld the main allegations made by the federal government. .
Google had requested a summary judgment on all of the government’s allegations in the case, which is set to go to trial next month.
In a decision made public on Friday, US Judge Amit Mehta of Washington granted Google’s request in some respects but allowed the rest of the claims to go to trial next month.
The Justice Department sued Google in 2020, accusing the company of illegally using its market strength to hurt rivals, in the biggest challenge to Big Tech’s power and influence since it sued Microsoft Corp in 1998.
Mehta is also hearing a case brought against Google by the attorneys general of 38 states and territories.
Google said Friday that it appreciated the court’s “careful consideration and decision to dismiss the claims relating to the design of Google Search” in the case brought by state attorneys general.
“We hope to show at trial that the promotion and distribution of our services is legal and pro-competitive,” Google added.
Google has denied any infringement in both cases.
Mehta noted that Google LLC operates the largest general Internet search engine in the United States, whose “brand has become so ubiquitous that dictionaries recognize it as a verb.” He noted that in 2020 Google had almost a 90% market share and that advertisers were spending more than $80 billion annually just to reach general search users.
The government, which filed its lawsuit in the final days of the Trump administration, has argued that Google illegally paid billions of dollars each year to smartphone makers like Apple, LG, Motorola and Samsung, carriers like Verizon and browsers. like Mozilla to be the default search for their customers.
Judge Mehta dismissed claims by the states that Google made it difficult for Internet users to find specialized search engines, such as Expedia for travel or OpenTable for restaurants, saying the states “have not demonstrated the required anti-competitive effect in the relevant market.”
“A company with monopoly power only acts illegally when its conduct stifles competition,” Mehta wrote.
The Justice Department had no immediate comment.