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Pichai testifies in US anti-trust trial; takes a dig at Microsoft

Google reportedly paid Apple more than $10 billion a year to be the default search engine on Apple devices and software…reports Asian Lite News

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, on Monday, testified in the US District Court for the District of Columbia in the antitrust trial against the company.

The company is accused by the US government of illegally paying huge sums of money to smartphone makers like Apple and wireless carriers like AT&T and others to make Google the default search engine on their devices to dominate the market. If the government wins the case against Google, the company may have to do away with some of the business practices that helped it to assert dominance in the market.

Pichai, who has been called as a star witness for Google, opened his testimony, speaking about his journey from Chennai to becoming the CEO of Google in 2015, reports CNN.

According to media reports, the Google CEO, during his testimony, said in the initial years the browser market was stagnated as Microsoft was “not that incented to improve the browser,” Internet Explorer. This was before Google launched its Chrome browser.

He said Chrome had a minimalist design and had more room for search results and Google believed that these features would increase the usage of its search platform.

Google’s attorney John Schmidtlein presented before the court an internal e-mail of the company from 2010 that showed that people who changed from Internet Explorer to Chrome performed 48 per cent more searches. “The correlation was pretty clear to see,” Pichai said.

Google reportedly paid Apple more than $10 billion a year to be the default search engine on Apple devices and software.

The Google CEO said as the company renegotiated its deal with Apple, in 2016 and in 2021. Google moved to restrict how Apple could treat search questions users entered on its devices. “We wanted to make sure that as we contemplate a longer-term deal that the notion of default is implemented in a similar way” Pichai said.

He described Google’s deals as standard promotional agreements.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in his testimony against Google in the trial earlier this month, had warned that there would be a nightmarish scenario for the internet if Google is allowed to have its uncontested dominance in online search market. He also argued that generative AI will help Google consolidate its power and give it an unassailable advantage. “This is going to become even harder to compete in the AI age with someone who has that core… advantage,” Nadella had said.

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