Google Responds to U.S. Antitrust Suit

Posted on December 22, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Google with 26 Comments

Image credit: Wikipedia

In its first formal response to the antitrust suit brought against it by the DOJ and 11 states, Google claims it has done nothing wrong.

“Google generally denies the legal claims asserted in Plaintiffs’ Complaint,” a new Google filing reads. (You can find a copy here.) “Google further states that for nearly a quarter-century, Google’s mission has been to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. To further that mission, Google has developed, continually innovated, and promoted Google Search for use by consumers all over the world. People use Google Search because they choose to, not because they are forced to or because they cannot easily find alternative ways to search for information on the Internet.”

Amusingly, Google does admit to some of the DOJ and state assertions right upfront.

“Google admits that it was founded in a Menlo Park garage 22 years ago,” the filing notes, “and that it created an innovative way to search the internet, Google Search, but denies the remaining allegations … Google admits that its parent company, Alphabet Inc., has a roughly $1 trillion market capitalization and had revenue exceeding $160 billion in 2019, but denies that these allegations apply to Google, the Defendant in this case.”

The 42-page Google filing makes numerous statements about the allegations against it in what is mostly a point-by-point rebuttal structured as above, in which it “agrees” with basic facts about the company but then disagrees with the actual allegations of wrongdoing. In some cases, it simply just notes that it denies specific allegations without any explanation. It’s all pretty tedious.

And then it gets even more ridiculous. Google concludes the filing with a prayer. Yes, really.

“Google prays … that the Complaint against Google be dismissed in its entirety, with prejudice; that Google be awarded its attorneys’ fees and costs and expenses of the suit; and that the Court award such other and further relief to Google as the Court deems just and proper.”

Oh brother.

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Comments (29)

29 responses to “Google Responds to U.S. Antitrust Suit”

  1. SvenJ

    I have to agree that 'People use Google Search because they choose to, not because they are forced to or because they cannot easily find alternative ways to search for information on the Internet." That and the pervasive penchant for tech blogs and bloggers to insist that the only reason other Browsers exist is to download Chrome, and compare every search engine to Google Search, setting it up as the gold standard.

  2. merlinv


    Below is standard Legal Jargon, not an actual prayer. I agree that maybe you should redact that comment about concluding with a prayer.


    “Google prays … that the Complaint against Google be dismissed in its entirety, with prejudice; that Google be awarded its attorneys’ fees and costs and expenses of the suit; and that the Court award such other and further relief to Google as the Court deems just and proper.”


  3. bennett_cg

    They always trot out this "consumer choice" canard as though anyone is objecting to their search product being used a lot.


    The complaint isn't that most people use Google Search, it's that Alphabet's largess makes a kill-zone around itself that stifles innovation and limits market entry in unnatural and toxic ways rather than by pure competition alone.

  4. Greg Green

    Maybe the line used to be ‘google preys...’ and they cut and pasted trusting spell check.

  5. nbplopes

    Hehehe. A smile over the last two paragraphs.


    I believe the fundamental point deviding opinions is if a company with a significant market share should obey a set of laws that are different from one without that significant market share. And even than, what constitutes a significant market share. Mind you this is quite a common phenomena in law. For instance Pharma has specialized laws different from Energy or Telcos.


    This is the crux around all on going cases, it just takes different shapes and forms.


    In one extreme we have libertarian capitalism, on the other extreme we have state capitalism.


    Either of them have been proven extremely harmful to the prosperity of man kind. And no, the virtue is not really in the middle.

    • Paul Thurrott

      What Google should be doing is learning from the mistakes that Microsoft made. What Google IS doing is being Google, by which I mean quirky and different, and trying to be cute like this is going to rub the judge the wrong way.
  6. dholiman

    Saying that the filer "prays" is pretty standard legalese - you'll see it everywhere from divorce petitions to delinquent debt lawsuits and points in between. (Disclaimer: IANAL.)

  7. scovious

    What's more pathetic? Google gets away with whatever they want for decades, and will continue as status quo while their lawyers get to do their billion dollar dance and waste another decade of everyone's time. Or is it more pathetic that a bunch of overpaid suits in a courtroom get to dance around outdated legal definitions for years while they pretend their client's aren't the scum everyone already knows they are and get rich doing it.

    • bluvg

      In reply to scovious:

      Google is entitled to legal representation, as you or I would be if sued. Legal has jargon just like any other industry, and the specific shared understanding of that jargon is important to how the legal system operates.

  8. jgraebner

    I'm pretty sure that "prays" in that context is pretty standard legal wording and not meant to have religious connotations.

  9. Hurmoth

    A "prayer" gives the judge an idea of what is sought [see law.com's "pray" definition] and, as others have pointed out, is very common/standard legal jargon.

  10. JE

    Regarding the quirkiness. I suspect it’s very deliberate and strategic. As the saying goes, all PR is good PR.

    They’re seeding their innovation and achievements storyline into the public domain, which is of course picked up and given exposure by the media.

    In the court of public opinion perception is reality and shapes future customer behaviour. The lawyers will fight the fight on the legal and financial front. The marketers will take it to the street to influence public opinion on what they continue to choose.


  11. ejuly

    I wonder if "Google prays" is setting up a legal/religious defense. Given the current Supreme Court decisions, religious liberties have been widening. If using Google search is a religious experience then many items in the DOJ and US state's arguments are moot.

  12. eelinneman

    Paul, you may want to just pull this whole article. What they are doing is standard legal response. Regarding your last portion regarding "Google prays" - please consult with a lawyer, any lawyer before you go down this route. You can do better than this.

  13. sykeward

    In legalese, a "prayer" is just the specific action a plaintiff or defendant is asking the court to take (not that most judges object to the idea of being prayed to). That said, given the current environment, Google execs probably should be praying that they don't end up facing criminal charges themselves.

  14. mikegalos

    To "pray to the court for relief" is pretty standard legal boilerplate.


    Yes, I'm actually defending Google. But only in that one choice of wording.

  15. gdbailey

    And then it gets even more ridiculous. Google concludes the filing with a prayer. Yes, really.


    “Google prays … that the Complaint against Google be dismissed in its entirety, with prejudice; that Google be awarded its attorneys’ fees and costs and expenses of the suit; and that the Court award such other and further relief to Google as the Court deems just and proper.”


    Oh brother.


    I don't know about California legal education, but in Georgia (and many other states I am told), 'praying...' as used in a legal filings is basically 'asking' -- for whatever reason I was told that this was the way MANY lawyers were trained to prepare legal filings in law school. I was as surprised. While I have no idea of the folks involved in this filing... I wonder if it has anything even closely related to the tone you are describing... I wonder if the 'Oh brother' is a bit missed informed...

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