When the U.S. government faces off against Google in court later today, it will be the start of the first significant attempt to rein in a major tech giant in a generation. If the Department of Justice manages to pull this off, it could really shake things up for Google, possibly giving its rivals a chance to grab a bigger slice of the pie in what used to be Google’s stronghold: search advertising.
Whether this happens depends on if Judge Amit P. Mehta believes that Google played a bit dirty by cutting deals with Apple, telco companies and other device makers to be the automatic search engine to users on their platforms and tech. The U.S. government argues that this strategy has harmed fair competition, effectively locking Google into a dominant 80 percent or higher market share in search.
Perhaps this talk of monopolistic behavior rings a bell? That sense of déjà vu is because the U.S. government is also making a similar attempt to challenge Google’s dominance in open web advertising. The outcomes of both trials could be seismic, but the search one is arguably more critical since it’s the foundation of Google’s business. It’s also likely to impact the outcome of the ad tech case, which won’t start until some time next year at the earliest.