In the ongoing antitrust trial against Google, Apple’s senior vice president of services, Eddy Cue, defended the company’s decision to make Google the default search engine on Apple devices. Cue argued that Google was the best option for users to search the internet and that there was no “valid alternative.” The U.S. Department of Justice has accused Google of stifling competition by paying companies like Apple and Verizon to prioritize its search engine. Google counters that its dominance is due to the superiority of its search engine and the ease with which users can switch to other options.
The antitrust case, which is the largest in 25 years, was filed in 2020 during the Trump administration and is being heard in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. Microsoft’s head of advertising and web services, Mikhail Parakhin, also testified, stating that Google’s dominance is self-sustaining. The more searches Google processes, the more data it collects to improve future searches. Parakhin argued that search engines need at least a 20% market share to survive, as their quality deteriorates rapidly below that threshold. He shared his experience battling Google in his previous role at the Russian search engine Yandex, where allowing users to choose their search engine boosted Yandex’s market share.
The government also called a behavioral economist and the founder of search engine DuckDuckGo to testify against Google. The behavioral economist argued that Google’s default status discourages users from switching search engines due to ingrained habits, while the DuckDuckGo founder mentioned the challenges his company faced in competing with Google due to revenue-sharing agreements between Google and Apple. The ruling in the case is not expected until early next year, but if Google is found to have violated antitrust laws, further actions may be taken to curb its market power, including prohibiting the company from paying to be the default search engine on Apple devices.