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Judge Sets Date For $1 Trillion Google Antitrust Lawsuit Hearing

A US District Judge has set a status hearing for the Justice Department’s $1 trillion antitrust lawsuit against Google for Friday, October 30.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) sued the search engine giant and accused it of abusing its monopoly power to block out rivals and limit consumer choice by paying companies such as Apple and Samsung to feature its browser.

Judge Amit Mehta said lawyers for Google and the DoJ must appear at a telephone status hearing on October 31 at 10am EDT, which is set to be open to the public and media.

The DoJ sued Alphabet Inc’s Google for $1 trillion, making it one of the biggest challenges of Google’s power and influence in decades.

The suit mimics a similar case the US government made against Google rival Microsoft in 1998, when it alleged the software giant was requiring computer manufacturers to set its web browser Internet Explorer as the default.

Microsoft’s lawsuit took years to resolve, terminating only in 2001 when parties agreed on a settlement.

The US federal government’s complaint against Google has been backed by 11 US 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 alone accounts for 90% of all general search engine queries in the US and almost 95% of searches on mobile.

Attorney General Bill Barr said his investigators found Google does not compete and find success based on the quality of its search engine results, but on its ability to buy monopoly power through its payments to manufacturers.

“The end result is that no one can feasibly challenge Google’s dominance in search and search advertising,” Barr said.

In a statement about the ongoing lawsuit, Google described the filing as a “dubious complaint” that is “deeply flawed”.

“Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives,” Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs at Google, wrote in a blogpost.

“This lawsuit would do nothing to help consumers. To the contrary, it would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.”

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