On Tuesday, a new era of anti-monopoly enforcement in the United States will begin with the start of the largest tech monopoly trial since the Department of Justice sued Microsoft more than 20 years ago.
In the coming months, the DOJ and a number of state attorneys general will present evidence to a judge in the D.C. District Court in support of their claims that Google broke anti-monopoly laws by entering into exclusive contracts with mobile phone and browser makers that made its search engine the default for users. In response, Google will attempt to convince the judge that its actions do not violate anticompetitive laws and instead improve the consumer experience.
Although the trial is the first significant anti-monopoly procedure in the internet sector in decades, Google is currently at the centre of its antitrust conflicts. After concluding arguments in the search trial, it will face a second challenge from the DOJ in the Eastern District of Virginia over its advertising technology business. It has previously received significant fines for its competitive practises in Europe.
The opportunity for the DOJ to demonstrate that it can bring a successful anti-monopoly case in the contemporary digital era is at stake in this trial. In the same way that many believe its success in the Microsoft case opened the way for today’s antitrust laws, the DOJ will likely work to demonstrate that enforcement of the antitrust rules, not their absence, is what can unleash creativity enabling a new generation of businesses, such as Google, to prosper in an online ecosystem that is more open.