Judge overrules antitrust case against Google, says setting default search engines is fair

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Google isn’t a stranger to antitrust lawsuits. Even so, the company is likely still relieved that a U.S. court tossed out an antitrust lawsuit that alleged the search giant made agreements with handset makers to make Google the default search engine, reports PC World.

The two consumers who filed the suit, Gary Feitelson and Daniel McKee, purchased an HTC EVO 3D and Samsung Galaxy S3, respectively. According to both plaintiffs, neither man was aware that Google was set as the default search engine. Neither of them knew “how to change the default search engine if there is indeed a way to change it,” either, so they were rather upset.

The plaintiffs were also not happy with the alleged Mobile Application Distribution Agreements between Google, HTC, and Samsung, which allowed Google to pre-install its apps onto their handsets.

Feitelson and McKee argued that, because the default search engine was Google, it severely diminished competitors’ abilities to enter the search engine market. In other words, they argued Android smartphones would have been cheaper and had increased search capabilities, had the search engine market made more space for the likes of Bing and others.

District Judge Beth Labson Freeman, however, didn’t see eye to eye with the plaintiffs. She argued there are “no facts alleged to indicate that defendant’s conduct has prevented consumers from freely choosing among search products or prevented competitors from innovating.”

As a result, Judge Freeman tossed out the antitrust lawsuit against Google, saying that, in this respect, Google’s Android smartphones and Apple’s iPhones are no different from each other. In addition, she labeled Feitelson’s and McKee’s allegations of Google diminishing the competition as “entirely too conclusory and speculative.”

Even though the plaintiffs were given three weeks to amend their complaint, this is an important victory for Google, considering how Russian search engine company Yandex filed a complaint against El Goog. The complaint asked for the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (RFAS) to look at whether Google violated Russian antitrust law.

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