DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Would Protect Competing Search Engines, Not Consumers

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This week, the trial resulting from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust lawsuit against Google parent company Alphabet begins in a Washington, DC courtroom. DOJ accuses Google of violating antitrust law when it secured arrangements to make its search engine the default on web browsers and popular cell phone operating systems.

Director of CEI’s Center for Technology and Innovation Jessica Melugin said:

“The aim of U.S. antitrust law should be to protect consumer welfare, but this case instead aims to protect Google’s competitors. If the DOJ is successful, it will be to the detriment of customers. Government putting its thumb on the competition scale might benefit search competitors like Bing and DuckDuckGo, but the DOJ is supposed to be looking out for consumers, not picking winners and losers in the marketplace.

“It’s true that Google spends billions to secure its search tool as a default on Android devices and in Apple’s Safari web browser and iOS devices. Those voluntary contracts surely benefit Google’s distribution of its tools and device makers by improving the quality of their product. But most importantly, these deals benefit consumers by providing out-of-the-box convenience, a superior product, and likely reducing the cost consumers pay for Android, Samsung, and Apple devices.

“Three years, 150 people deposed, and 5 million pages of documents to address what users can undo in four clicks on their iPhone, if they prefer a different search tool, shows a shocking lack of prudence in spending taxpayer dollars. Surely the DOJ has better things to do than hamstring one of America’s most valuable and trusted companies. Meanwhile, innovation and competition are thriving with DuckDuckGo gaining market share and Bing integrating AI capabilities into its search offerings.

“This case is a risk to consumer welfare all to fix a problem that does not exist.”

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