Defaults matter, and Google executives know it. That’s why they’re fine with shelling out massive sums to other companies to keep their near-monopoly on search intact.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google pays billions of dollars each year to Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and other telecom giants to illegally maintain its spot as the No. 1 search engine, the US Justice Department told a federal judge Thursday.
DOJ attorney Kenneth Dintzer didn’t disclose how much Google spends to be the default search engine on most browsers and all US mobile phones, but described the payments as “enormous numbers.”
“Google invests billions in defaults, knowing people won’t change them,” Dintzer told Judge Amit Mehta during a hearing in Washington that marked the first major face-off in the case and drew top DOJ antitrust officials and Nebraska’s attorney general among the spectators. “They are buying default exclusivity because defaults matter a lot.”
It is amazing to hear these statements coming from the U.S. Department of Justice. For years, the European Union (EU) was pretty much alone in investigating and discipling Google for its bad behavior. But finally, after decades of doing mostly nothing, the U.S. government is suing Google. It’s long overdue and extremely welcome.