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A federal judge hammered key elements of Googles defense on Thursday as closing arguments began in a landmark antitrust trial that could potentially upend the tech giants online search empire.

Judge Amit Mehta, who is expected to rule later this year on whether Google has maintained an illegal monopoly over the online search market, zeroed in on the companys claims that it faces stiff competition despite holding an approximately 90% market share.

Googles lawyers pointed to smaller search engines such as privacy-focused DuckDuckGo, tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon and even media outlets such as ESPN as opponents in the race for user eyeballs.

“You really think that DuckDuckGo is a competitor on Google?” the judge askedGoogle’s lawyers, according to AFP.

DuckDuckGo holds a less than 3% market share compared to Googles 90% share, according to stats that surfaced during the trial.

Mehta also questioned whether rival search engines could be able to offer similar default deal packages to other companies, given the multi-billion-dollar price tag established by Google.

The exchange was just one example of sharp questions that Mehta aimed at both Google and the Justice Departments legal team.

Mehta raised questions as to whether the DOJs legal team had sufficiently shown that Googles default deals have had anti-competitive effects on rivals or stifled their ability to innovate.

Closing arguments will conclude on Friday.

DOJ antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter and Google president of global affairs Kent Walker were among the figures in attendance in court.

The Justice Department has argued that Google relied on billions in payments to partners — including $26.3 billion in 2021 alone — to ensure its search engine was enabled by default on most smartphones.

The judge warned that government attorneys faced a hard road to prove that Google had failed to innovate in online search over the last decade.

At one point during the hearing, Mehta pointed out that Microsoft admitted it did not put enough resources into building its mobile search business.

“That’s not anticompetitive, the fact that Google was smart enough to get on the mobile bandwagon before Microsoft,” Mehta said.

A Justice Department attorney fired back, asserting that a mistake by one rival doesnt mean Google gets to monopolize this market forever.

Last falls trial included appearances by several high-profile witnesses, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and key Apple executive Eddy Cue.

Unredacted documents from Cue’s testimony that surfaced Tuesday showed Google paid a whopping $20 billion to Apple in 2022 alone to be the default search engine on its Safari web browser.

If Mehta eventually rules against Google, a second trial will be held to determine an appropriate remedy to address the monopoly.

Experts have said that could include the implementation of a choice screen for users or even a breakup of Googles business.

Google isnt the only tech giant in the midst of federal antitrust proceedings.

The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple earlier this year.

Separately, the Federal Trade Commission has pending actions against Meta and Amazon.

With Post wires

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Entertainment

Bruce Springsteen cancels shows over ‘vocal issues’

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Bruce Springsteen cancels shows over 'vocal issues'

Bruce Springsteen has cancelled a series of dates due to “vocal issues”, days after performing in what he described as “hellacious” weather in Sunderland.

The US star, 74, postponed shows in Marseille, Prague and Milan over the next fortnight, with his European tour set to resume in Madrid on 12 June.

In an Instagram post on Sunday, he said he was “recuperating comfortably” and he and the E Street Band “look forward to resuming their hugely successful European stadium tour”.

With “further examination” and “consulting”, the statement also said, doctors determined Bruce “should not perform for the next 10 days”.

Springsteen had played at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Wednesday, where he admitted the weather was particularly wet.

As he was honoured at London’s Ivor Novello Awards on Thursday, he said: “We just… came out of the plane in Sunderland last night, (it was) hellacious weather.

Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock

Ivor Novello Awards, Portrait Studio, Grosvenor House, London, UK - 23 May 2024
Bruce Springsteen with his Fellowship of The Ivors Academy and Sir Paul McCartney pose in the Studio at The Ivors with Amazon Music - May 23, 2024 in London United Kingdom. (Photo by Hogan Media/Shutterstock)

23 May 2024
Image:
Sir Paul McCartney presented Bruce Springsteen with the Fellowship of The Ivors Academy. Pic: Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock

“Driving rain storm, the wind blowing, blowing, blowing, and standing… in front of me, in the rain, I realised: these are my people.”

Springsteen also treated the audience to his song Thunder Road, after Sir Paul McCartney presented him with his Ivors Academy fellowship.

New dates for his postponed shows will be announced shortly, according to his Instagram account, and anyone seeking a refund “will be able to obtain it at their original point of purchase”.

Read more:
Paloma Faith, KT Tunstall and more on the threat of AI
Nicki Minaj fans blame venue – not her arrest – for gig cancellation

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He rescheduled dates in August last year in the US after he was taken ill, and cancelled planned concerts in March 2023 over other issues.

His first major tour in six years saw him play a headline gig in London’s Hyde Park in July 2023.

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Sports

Braves star Acuña out for season with torn ACL

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Braves star Acuña out for season with torn ACL

Atlanta Braves star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. will miss the rest of the season after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Sunday’s 8-1 victory at Pittsburgh.

The reigning NL MVP led off the game with a double to right-center field off Martin Perez. With Marcell Ozuna at the plate, Acuña started toward third on a stolen base attempt and his left knee gave way. Acuña remained down for several minutes while being treated, pointing at his left leg before walking off under his own power.

The Braves’ initial diagnosis was left knee soreness. But the team announced Sunday night that an MRI showed a complete ACL tear that will require season-ending surgery.

Acuña tore his right ACL on July 20, 2021. Wearing a brace in the clubhouse after Sunday’s win, the 26-year-old outfielder said this injury felt less severe.

“(I) don’t feel that painful, any pop or anything. … Don’t think it’s that bad,” Acuña said.

Acuña said he was looking to take third when he anticipated a slow throw back to the mound from catcher Joey Bart. The toss came in harder than expected, leading to an abrupt pivot back to second with his knee twisting.

Acuña is batting .250 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 49 games. The four-time All-Star hit a career-best .337 last season with 41 homers and 106 RBIs.

Atlanta already was missing All-Star right-hander Spencer Strider, whose season ended on April 13 when he had internal brace surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. Third baseman Austin Riley is day to day with a left intercostal strain, and catcher Sean Murphy remains on the 10-day injured list with an oblique injury after he got hurt on opening day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Politics

Could Trump’s win nix SEC crypto suits? Critics say he’s ‘pandering’ for votes

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Could Trump’s win nix SEC crypto suits? Critics say he’s ‘pandering’ for votes

One crypto lawyer thinks a Donald Trump election win would revert some SEC crypto lawsuits, but others note he hasn’t always kept campaign promises.

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