Skip to content

Search the site

Google gets key ruling ahead of antitrust trial

Google has had several claims dismissed ahead of what looks to be a landmark antitrust case regarding its dominance over search and its associated markets

Google has won a partial dismissal of the claims it faces ahead of what looks to be a landmark antitrust case.

The search giant was able to convince Judge Amit Mehta to dismiss claims it had harmed specialized vertical providers (SVPs) but will still face claims that its search engine violated antitrust laws by bundling its software on mobile devices.

Mehta's ruling threw out four claims relating to how Google treated service providers who dealt in such areas as travel reservations and restaurant reviews.

A number of US states had charged Google with violating antitrust laws by boosting its own services among those of specialized third-party sites and services on devices with which it enjoyed a built-in advantage thanks to its other products.

The ruling looked into whether Google's search dominance had been unfairly leveraged to exclude specific sites and service providers, as had been alleged by a number of US state Attorneys General.

Judge Mehta found that, in regards to the SVPs, evidence of wrongdoing was lacking.

"It remains unclear to the court whether Plaintiffs contend that this is a different form of exclusionary conduct, or it is merely a downstream effect of Google’s distribution agreements," the judge wrote.

"It would seem to be the later."

It was not all good news for the search giant, however. Judge Mehta upheld the US government's claims that Google was violating antitrust laws by way of its agreements to make itself the exclusive bundled provider for a number of smart devices.

"A purchaser of an Apple device is not, for example, given the out-of-the-box option to select a default search engine," Mehta wrote.

"Google occupies that space by agreement."

Were Google to be found in violation of antitrust laws, it would not exactly be unfamilliar territory for the search titan. In 2021 Google was hammered with a €500m fine by the French government over similar antitrust violations.