Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet and its subsidiary Google is scheduled to appear as a witness on Monday in a significant antitrust battle concerning Google’s control of search and certain aspects of search advertising.
During his testimony,Pichai, who is being called as a witness by Google, is expected to face questions about the company’s investments made to maintain competitiveness in the search market, especially with the shift to smartphones, as well as advancements in search advertising. In cross-examination, the government may inquire why the company pays billions of dollars each year to ensure that Google search is set as the default option on smartphones.
In the ongoing legal battle, the government contends that Google, which commands about 90% of the search market, unlawfully paid approximately $10 billion annually to smartphone manufacturers like Apple and wireless carriers such as AT&T (T.N) and others to ensure that its search engine is the default option on their devices, thus maintaining its dominant position. This dominance in the search arena bolsters Google’s presence in the highly profitable advertising sector, resulting in increased profits.
Google, on the other hand, asserts that its revenue-sharing agreements are legal and that it has made significant investments to keep its search and advertising enterprises competitive. Additionally, the company argues that individuals have the option to switch to a different search provider if they are unsatisfied with the default settings.
Reported by Diane Bartz and edited by Chris Reese.