Has Google built a web browser monopoly?

Antitrust lawsuit: Google hinders innovation in the search market

Google is said to have maintained an illegal monopoly on Internet and mobile search and thereby hindered the development of new search technologies. This is alleged by a class action lawsuit filed in a Northern California district court. The Internet company has also artificially increased the costs of competitors' mobile devices through its behavior, it is said.

The background is the agreements that Google has made with device manufacturers. The so-called Mobile Application Distribution Agreements, which, according to court documents from the Oracle process, were signed by practically every Android provider, should be used by Google to secure its supremacy in the search market. Among other things, the manufacturers undertake to preset the Google search.

"As Google is very well aware, consumers neither know how to change the search engine on their devices, nor do they want to make this effort," says the complaint. "So this is very effective in ensuring that consumers are using Google Search instead of a competitor's product."

The plaintiffs also assume that the overall quality of Internet search would have improved if device manufacturers were not bound by the agreement with Google and could freely choose the search engine. More searches for Google's competition would make their search techniques more effective and, in turn, force Google to improve its procedures.

Furthermore, they argue that if the search engine were chosen freely, manufacturers could subsidize device prices, which in turn would lead to lower prices for consumers.

“It is clear that Google achieved its monopoly not only because it offers a better search engine, but because of its strategic and anti-competitive placement. And it doesn't take an economist to see that this is evidence of market manipulation, ”said Steve Berman, partner at consumer law firm Hagen Berman, in a press release. "Simply put, there is no legal and pro-competitive reason for Google to require that popular Google apps be preinstalled this way."

Google rejects the allegations as unfounded. "Everyone can use Android without Google and Google without Android," says a statement from the Internet company. "Since the introduction of Android, increased competition in the smartphone market has resulted in more choice and lower prices for consumers."

[with material from Steven Musil, News.com]

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