In the ongoing antitrust trial against Google, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, defended the company’s decision to make Google the default search engine on iPhones and Macs. Cue stated that there was no “valid alternative” to Google’s search capabilities and highlighted their expertise in helping users search the internet effectively. The U.S. Department of Justice has accused Google of stifling competition by paying tech companies like Apple and Verizon to prioritize its search engine. Google argues that its dominance in the market is due to the superiority of its search engine and users have the option to switch to other search engines easily.
Mikhail Parakhin, Microsoft’s head of advertising and web services, testified that Google’s dominance is self-reinforcing. As Google processes more searches, it gathers more data to improve future searches, resulting in better search results. Parakhin also mentioned that search engines with less than a 20% market share struggle to survive and often disappear. He cited his experience battling Google as the chief technology officer at Russian search engine Yandex, where the company’s market share increased from 30% to 55% after Russian regulators allowed Android users to choose their default search engine.
The trial, which began in September, is the largest antitrust case since the Microsoft case 25 years ago. The government argues that Google’s default status discourages users from switching search engines due to ingrained habits and revenue-sharing agreements with companies like Apple. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta is expected early next year, which could potentially lead to restraints on Google’s market power and its ability to pay companies for default search placement.