DuckDuckGo’s chief executive on Thursday described Google as a monopoly that harmed competition and consumers through its scale and command of the technology industry, in the first testimony of a rival in the Justice Department’s federal antitrust lawsuit. against the giant quest.
Gabriel Weinberg of DuckDuckGo said Google’s deals to make its search engine the default in browsers and other platforms have hindered its ability to compete effectively. DuckDuckGo, which has just 2.5 percent of the US search market, has tried to negotiate with other companies to make its privacy-focused search engine the default. But it has been consistently denied because of Google’s deals with those tech partners, he said.
“In the end we decided after three years of trying that it was a quixotic exercise because of the contracts,” said Mr. Weinberg.
The Justice Department’s antitrust complaint trial against Google is the government’s first antitrust case in two decades, and is expected to take on many of the big tech companies. Executives at Apple, Microsoft and Verizon are also expected to testify in the trial, which could reshape how consumers get information online.
The Justice Department argued that Google violated competition laws by maintaining its monopoly through deals that make it the default access point for users to search for online information across multiple platforms.
Google has defended its business partnerships, saying companies, including Apple and Samsung, choose to make Google the default on their devices because of Google’s superior quality. Google says consumers can easily adjust settings in their browsers to change search engine defaults to alternatives like DuckDuckGo.
Mr. Weinberg said Thursday that any move to default search engines takes more steps than Google says it will.
“It’s all more difficult than it needs to be,” he said.
Mr. did not disclose. Weinberg has not covered the details of the business negotiations in public proceedings but continued his testimony in a closed session on the ninth day of the antitrust trial.
Judge Amit P. Mehta of the US District Court for the District of Columbia closed hours of testimony at the request of Google and other companies that argued to keep documents and testimony of sensitive business matters private.