According to Google, federal and state prosecutors failed to prove that it violated antitrust rules by arranging to serve as the default search engine on Apple and Mozilla browsers, as well as Android mobile devices.

“Punishing a successful firm that has out-innovated its competitors to the benefit of consumers harms competition, not the other way around,” the company claimed in a 123-page post-trial brief filed with U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C. The brief, which was filed under seal earlier this month, was made public on Friday, albeit with some portions blacked out.

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“When Google has succeeded in the competition to be the default in a particular browser, it has done so by offering the best product at the best price,” a spokesperson for Google stated.

Last year, Mehta presided over a trial in which prosecutors from the United States Department of Justice and a coalition of states attempted to prove that Google violated antitrust laws.

One of the antitrust regulators’ main contentions in the case was that Google gained search dominance by contracting to be the default search engine in Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari browsers, as well as having its search engine pre-installed on Android smartphones.

Prosecutors repeated that argument in their post-trial brief, which was also made accessible on Friday.

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“Google pays billions of dollars to guarantee it is the exclusive out-of-the-box default search engine across nearly all search access points — particularly on mobile phones,” the prosecutors contend in their 108-page brief. “Google denies competitors access to the most crucial distribution channels for general search engines…. Without access to those distribution channels, competitors cannot acquire the scale required to compete successfully with Google.”

Prosecutors also claimed that Google’s payments to Apple “incentivize Apple not to enter the relevant markets.”

The prosecutors highlighted testimony from Apple’s Eduardo Cue, who negotiated the search arrangement with Google, claiming that if Google had not paid the business for default status in Safari, Apple would have created its own search engine.

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Google claims that its partnerships with Apple and Mozilla reflect the quality of Google’s search engine.

“The evidence at trial demonstrated that Microsoft has for many years pitched Apple to make Bing the default search engine instead of Google for the Safari browser,” Google says in a blog post.

“In each case, Apple weighed the relative merits of Bing and Google and determined that Google was the better default option for Safari users. “That’s competition,” the corporation adds.

Google also notes that Mozilla, which started using Google as the default search engine for the Firefox browser in 2004, switched to Yahoo in 2014, then returned to Google in 2017.

“During the years Yahoo was the default search engine, Mozilla observed a decline in both (1) usage of the default search functionality in Firefox and (2) the number of users of the Firefox browser,” according to Google.

“Mozilla’s preference for Google as the default search engine and its view about the importance of having competition among search providers for the Firefox default could not be more clear,” according to Google. “Mozilla advised the Department of Justice, in a letter sent weeks before this lawsuit was filed, that it would be significantly harmed in its ability to compete were it not permitted to enter into a default search agreement with Google, because Google provides the best user experience and is preferred by Firefox users.”


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