Google Avoids Trial Over Antitrust Breach

( Google avoided a jury trial for an antitrust case after paying the Department of Justice $2.3 million. The DOJ sued Google and alleged that federal agencies were overcharged for advertising by Google.

The DOJ also alleged that Google suppressed competition by acquiring new companies and forcing other entities to use Google products. Judge Leonie Brinkema determined the payment amount was sufficient to cover any potential damages, despite the objection from the DOJ.

Judge Brinkema referred to the payment amount as a “wheelbarrow full of cash,” but the DOJ insisted it wasn’t enough to cover the damages. The lawsuit also included eight states as plaintiffs along with the DOJ. While the judge shot down the damages after Google’s payment, the lawsuit also asks to break up the monopoly that Google has on advertising.

The jury trial was scrapped following the payment and the determination that it was sufficient to cover the monetary damages. A bench trial will proceed in September with the same judge to rule on whether Google should divest from its ad manager suite that the DOJ argues is a monopoly on advertising.

The DOJ is arguing that Google uses price manipulation schemes to gain monopolistic control of the advertising market. The judge stated that all evidence submitted during the trial should be made available to the press and public. This will be the first time that the public has access to the inner mechanics of the Google advertising business.

The outcome of this case may have significant impacts on the tech market in Silicon Valley. Apple and Amazon are also facing antitrust lawsuits that claim they have monopolized the market. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, also faces similar charges on the social media landscape.

If the judge rules that Google has a monopoly, then competitors like Bing and DuckDuckGo stand to benefit. Google received a temporary victory by having a bench trial rather than a jury trial, but the real answers will come in September.

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