Google counters DOJ antitrust charges by pointing out Bing exists

It believes phone search deals are entirely legal.

Chris Velazco/Engadget

Google is offering one of its first formal responses to the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit over mobile search dominance, and it won’t surprise you to hear the company isn’t thrilled. Axios and the New York Times report that Google has rejected the DOJ’s claims in a court filing, insisting that its deals with Apple and Android vendors were “lawful, justified [and] pro-competitive.” People use Google search “because they choose to, not because they are forced to,” the internet giant argued.

The firm likened its deals to buying premier shelf space at a grocery store, and maintained that iPhone and Android users could easily switch to search rivals like Bing and DuckDuckGo.

Google called for the court to dismiss the lawsuit in the filing and challenged issues point-by-point.

The response won’t necessarily hold sway. The DOJ contended in its lawsuit that Google’s high-profile deals with phone makers like Apple and Samsung make it harder for rivals to assail the company’s search leadership — that can still be true regardless of how easy it is to switch to other search engines.

There would still be problems even if Google succeeded in ending the lawsuit. The tech firm is facing two multi-state lawsuits, one led by Colorado and one by Texas, that accuse it of abusing its commanding positions in advertising and search. Google could face significant repercussions if any one of the cases succeeds, provided there isn’t a settlement instead.