Central Oregon DailyApple defends decision to make Google default search engine on iPhones &...

Apple defends decision to make Google default search engine on iPhones & Macs

<div>Apple defends decision to make Google default search engine on iPhones & Macs</div>

Google Bard

WASHINGTON (AP) 鈥 A top Apple executive defended the tech giant鈥檚 decision to make Google the default search engine on Apple iPhones and Macs, saying there was no 鈥渧alid alternative.鈥欌

Testifying in the biggest antitrust trial in a quarter century, Eddy Cue, Apple鈥檚 senior vice president of services, said Tuesday that there wasn鈥檛 鈥渁nybody as good鈥欌 as Google at helping phone and computer users search the internet.

The聽U.S. Department of Justice聽has accused Google 鈥 a company whose very name is synonymous with scouring the web 鈥 of smothering competition by paying Apple, Verizon and other tech companies to make its search engine the first users see when they open their devices.

Google counters that it dominates the market because its search engine is better than the competition, a position Cue supported in his testimony. Google also argues that users can, in any event, switch to other search engines with a couple of clicks.

The antitrust case, the biggest since the Justice Department went after Microsoft and its dominance of internet browsers 25 years ago, was filed in 2020 during the Trump administration. The trial began Sept. 12 in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.

Mikhail Parakhin, Microsoft鈥檚 head of advertising and web services, testified Tuesday that Google鈥檚 dominance feeds on itself. The more searches Google processes, the more data it collects that can be used to improve future searches.

鈥淭he more data you have, the better the results are,鈥欌 he said, echoing one of the government鈥檚 arguments.

Dominating the market helps in other ways, Parakhin said. For example, restaurants are more likely to make sure their location and hours are accurate in results on the leading search engine, while they are far less likely to bother correcting information on smaller search engines.

Experience shows, he said, that search engines need 20% market share to survive. Otherwise, 鈥渢heir quality degrades rapidly, and they disappear.鈥欌欌

Parakhin also recounted his experience battling Google in his previous job as chief technology officer at the Russian search engine Yandex. After Russian regulators required Android phones to let users choose their search engine 鈥 instead of letting Google hold the default position 鈥 Yandex鈥檚 market share rose from 30% to 55%, he said.

Earlier in the proceedings, the government called a聽behavioral economist,聽who testified that Google鈥檚 default status discourages users from switching search engines, partly because they are reluctant to change ingrained habits. Last week, the founder of the search engine聽DuckDuckGo, which has about 2.5% of the search market, testified that his company struggled to compete because of Google鈥檚 revenue-sharing agreements with Apple and other companies.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta likely won鈥檛 issue a ruling until early next year. If he decides Google broke the law, another trial will determine how to rein in its market power. The Mountain View, California-based company could be stopped from paying Apple and other companies to make Google the default search engine.

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