SAN RAMON: The US government is trying to prove that Google has been using its advantages in online search to stifle competition and innovation, which harms the interests of consumers, and advertisers will not be tried in the past three years.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta (Amit Mehta) on Friday set the landmark case filed by the Justice Department two months ago for preliminary trial on September 12, 2023.
Mehta said in a conference call with the government and Google lawyers, “This eliminates the idea that we will proceed quickly.”
He estimates that once the trial begins, the trial will last about 5 1/2 weeks in the Washington, DC court.
The long waiting for trial highlights the complexity of the case. The case tried to dilute the strength of a startup company that sprouted from a Silicon Valley garage in 1998 and developed into a company with a market value of $1 trillion. Often used by billions of people around the world.
From now to the beginning of the trial, it is expected that a large number of documents involving Google’s internal work and transactions with Apple and other well-known companies will be reviewed. Many documents will be kept confidential, while others may be released publicly, thus pulling the curtain on how Google works.
Mehta is also allowing sworn depositions of eight Google executives for up to 14 hours each. The identities of those Google executives haven’t been determined yet. Google’s current CEO, Sundar Pichai, as well as two former CEOs, Eric Schmidt and Larry Page, are among the leading candidates to be deposed about the company’s strategy and dealings.
Google has fiercely denied the government’s allegations that it has illegally struck a series of deals to thwart competition in the search market to help give it a stranglehold on a digital advertising market that has brought in more than $100 billion in revenue to the company during the first nine months of this year alone.
The company’s staunch insistence that it has done nothing wrong makes a pre-trial settlement seem unlikely.
With the trial still years away, Google will conceivably become an even more imposing force before the federal government and the attorneys general in dozens of states get their day in court. Another antitrust case filed Thursday is seeking to preempt Google’s dominance in other still-emerging fields of technology such as voice-activated devices in the home and internet-connected cars. That case is likely to be combined with the Justice Department’s.