In a significant antitrust trial against Google, a former executive at Samsung Electronics revealed startling information. Patrick Chang, previously associated with Samsung Next, testified that Google exerted pressure to prevent the expansion of mobile app developer Branch Metrics’ software offerings in Samsung smartphones.
Chang had advocated for integrating Branch Metrics’ software, which enables in-app searches, into Samsung’s Android smartphones. However, he faced resistance, not only from Google but also from wireless carriers like AT&T, who retail Android phones. Branch Metrics’ founder, Alexander Austin, had previously stated that his company had to limit some software functions to appease Google’s concerns while striking deals with carriers and smartphone manufacturers.
This revelation is part of the U.S. Justice Department’s efforts to demonstrate that Google misused its search monopoly and manipulated search advertising. The Justice Department has alleged that Google paid substantial amounts to smartphone makers, including Samsung, through revenue share agreements, ensuring its software remained the default option and safeguarding its search monopoly.
An email from Samsung executive David Eun in August 2020 highlighted concerns about Google’s competitive practices. Eun expressed frustration, noting, “Google is clearly buying its way to squelch competitors.”
During cross-examination, Google’s attorney raised the possibility that Samsung’s disinterest in Branch Metrics stemmed from the software’s usability issues, suggesting that few users engaged with the links offered by Branch.
As the trial unfolds, it sheds light on Google’s alleged anticompetitive practices and their impact on the broader tech industry. The outcome of this trial could have significant repercussions, shaping the future landscape of competition within the digital sphere. Stay tuned for further developments as the trial progresses, potentially reshaping the dynamics of the tech industry.