Pichai is the highest-ranking Google parent Alphabet executive to appear in court during the company’s antitrust trial.Pichai reportedly testified that Google’s payments to phone manufacturers and wireless phone companies were partly meant to nudge them into making costly security upgrades and other improvements to their devices, not just to ensure Google was the first search engine users see when they open their smartphones or computers.
According to a report in Axios, Pichai said that such agreements make it easier for people to access Google and are well worth the cost: “We pay an amount of money based on the value we see,” he said. “We know people are looking to use Google, and that it will lead to increased use,” Pichai testified of the default agreements.
Pichai further said that with AI, we’re at the early stages of thinking about what’s possible for our customers.
What is the antitrust case about
The antitrust case was filed in 2020 during the Donald Trump administration. This is the biggest antitrust case since the Justice Department went after Microsoft and its dominance of internet browsers some 25 years ago. The Google trial began September 12 in the US District Court in Washington DC
The Justice Department’s lawsuit argues that Google has unfairly maintained its top search position with such agreements, keeping rival search engines from gaining any significant foothold in the market and limiting choices for consumers. The payments came to more than $26 billion in 2021, according to court documents the government entered into the record last week.
Google counters that it dominates the market because its search engine is better than the competition.