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Final arguments in Google antitrust trial conclude and establish historic ruling| GuyWhoKnowsThings

TO landmark antitrust trial The lawsuit against Google concluded Friday after a federal judge heard closing arguments, setting the stage for a ruling that could fundamentally change the power of the tech industry.

“The importance and significance of this case, not only for Google but for the public, is not lost on me,” Judge Amit P. Mehta said in the final moments of the proceedings on Friday. He thanked the lawyers who argued the case and then added: “I guess they've passed the baton to us.”

It must now decide the case in which the Justice Department and state attorneys general say Google has abused a monopoly over the search business, stifling competitors and limiting innovation, something the company denies.

During two days of closing arguments, Judge Mehta of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia did not reveal how it planned to rule. Grilled both sides, frequently referencing testimony and evidence from last year's 10-week trial to find holes in their arguments. He also demanded that they explain how his positions fit with major legal precedents.

As the trial concluded Friday, Kenneth Dintzer, the Justice Department's top trial attorney, argued that if antitrust laws While you can't unfreeze a Google-dominated search business, the company's practices will continue into the future.

John E. Schmidtlein, Google's main lawyer responded that a ruling in favor of the government “would be an unprecedented decision to punish a company for winning on merit.”

Judge Mehta's ruling in the coming weeks or months will likely influence the course of the trial. other government antitrust lawsuits against Apple, Amazon and Meta, the owner of Instagram and WhatsApp, as US regulators try to rein in their power.

The government argues that Google illegally cemented a monopoly in search by paying Apple and other technology partners billions of dollars to include Google's search engine in their products.

On Friday, the discussion centered on the government's second claim that the company also has a monopoly on ads that appear in search results.

Google pointed to other companies that compete in search and advertising.

“Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Amazon – all of these companies have very, very detailed and very useful information that allows them to offer advertisers many different options to reach the consumer groups that interest them most,” Schmidtlein said. she argued.

Judge Mehta asked the Justice Department to explain why search ads were so different from ads on Facebook and other social platforms.

“How does that compare to reality?” she asked. “It can't be that Facebook's advertising platform is an inferior product and they are making billions of dollars.”

Judge Mehta also mentioned the success of TikTok, which he said had a “pretty good advertising platform” and was growing. He said he had spent some time using TikTok search to investigate the case.

In an apparent nod to national security concerns about that app, he added: “Not that I have it on my phone, just to be clear.”

The government also said the judge should sanction Google for a company policy that automatically disabled chat history in the workplace, arguing that the policy resulted in the destruction of evidence. Dintzer said the court needed to “say this is wrong” to stop Google from hiding evidence in the future. A lawyer for Google, Colette T. Connor, denied that the company had done anything inappropriate.

“Let me be perfectly candid,” Judge Mehta said. “Google's document retention policy leaves a lot to be desired.”

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