Google reportedly paid billions of dollars to telecom giants like Apple, Samsung, and more to “illegally” remain the default search engine on their products, according to US Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney Kenneth Dintzer, who made these arguments to Judge Amit Mehta during a hearing in Washington on Thursday. Google has been accused of “buying default exclusivity” on most browsers and all US mobile phones. This exclusivity is believed to deny rivals user data, which is the key to the success of a search engine.
According to a Bloomberg report, these Google contracts are the basis of the US DOJ’s landmark antitrust lawsuit, which accuses the company of maintaining its search monopoly by violating antitrust laws.
Google has contracts with smartphone makers like Apple. Samsung, Motorola and three telecom carriers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, as per the report. Dintzer argued that this exclusivity prevents Google’s rivals from scaling up to challenge the search engine.
As part of their defence, Google has argued that several of these contracts have been in place since the 2000s. Furthermore, they are seemingly essential for companies like Mozilla that offer their services for free.
This antitrust lawsuit is expected to formally begin next year. Thursday’s hearing was the first significant one in this case, according to the report.