In a recent court hearing related to the ongoing legal battle between Google and the US Department of Justice, it was revealed that Google exerted pressure on Samsung, hindering the Korean manufacturer’s efforts to expand the set of pre-installed search functions on its smartphones.
Patrick Chang’s Insight at Samsung Next
Patrick Chang, a former executive at Samsung Next, known for investing in innovative technology developers, proposed expanding the capabilities of pre-installed software on Android smartphones. He suggested incorporating new functionalities from Branch, a tool designed for in-app searches.
Google’s Influence on Branch Metrics
Alexander Austin, the founder and former CEO of Branch Metrics, testified that Google compelled his company to remove certain features from their application. This request was part of agreements Google made with smartphone manufacturers and mobile operators. As a result, Branch was forced to limit its tool’s capabilities to application searches, excluding links to web resources. Additionally, Samsung faced opposition from telecom operators like AT&T, who sell Android smartphones.
US Department of Justice’s Accusation
The US Department of Justice accuses Google of paying smartphone manufacturers approximately $10 billion annually through partnership agreements to ensure that its search engine is the default choice on devices, thus maintaining Google’s monopoly in the search market, notes NIXsolutions. During questioning, a revealing email from Samsung’s top manager, David Eun, dated August 2020, surfaced. In it, Eun expressed concerns about Google’s actions, stating that “Google is clearly buying itself the opportunity to suppress competitors.”