Google CEO Sundar Pichai has defended his company’s multibillion-dollar deals that lock in Google Search as the default on the vast majority of devices and web browsers.
The Justice Department in a lawsuit argues that Google has unfairly maintained its top search position with such agreements, keeping rival search engines from gaining any significant foothold in the market and limiting choices for consumers. Pichai said such agreements make it easier for people to access Google and are well worth the cost.
Pichai testified that he was the lead negotiator of Google’s renewed 2016 agreement with Apple, and wanted to keep the agreement to make sure Apple didn’t direct search queries from its Safari browser to Google’s rivals. He also said that advancements in artificial intelligence would make Google search even more innovative.
The Justice Department has also taken issue with Google marking internal documents as “privileged” and destroying certain communications. DOJ attorney Meagan Bellshaw pressed Pichai on Google’s “chat retention” policy and asked if he copied Google top legal officer Kent Walker on emails when he wasn’t seeking legal advice but wanted information to remain confidential.
The sources for this piece include an article in Axios.