Apple tells US court Google is best in search

A top executive at Apple said Tuesday he believed that Google’s search engine was the best product for its customers as he took the stand at a landmark antitrust trial.

Google is facing prosecution by the US Justice Department on grounds that it illegally used its dominant position in online search to prevent the emergence of rivals.

At the heart of the case is Google’s relationship with Apple and the special deals between the two behemoths that make the search engine the default browser on Apple’s Safari browser.

“I don’t think there is anyone out there that is as good as Google in searching,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice president for services, told the courtroom as the trial went into its third week.

“There wasn’t a viable alternative to Google at that time. And going with any other was never something that we ever truly considered,” he added.

Cue was referring to a series of agreements that began in 2002 and have seen Google pay Apple billions of dollars for the prominent place on its hardware.

The deal was updated in 2016 with Apple winning a greater share of Google’s advertising revenue from clicks and links on its search engine through Safari.

Cue’s testimony was only briefly made available to the public, and it later went behind closed doors over concerns by the companies of sharing sensitive corporate data.

Over 10 weeks and with dozens of witnesses called to the bar, Google is trying to persuade Judge Amit P. Mehta that the case brought by the Justice Department is without merit.

Held in a Washington courtroom, the trial is the first time US prosecutors have tackled a big tech company head-on since Microsoft was targeted more than two decades ago over the dominance of its Windows operating system.

The Google case centers on the government’s contention that the tech titan unfairly gained its domination of online search by forging exclusivity contracts with device makers, mobile operators and other companies that left rivals no chance to compete.

The trial has already revealed that Google pays out $10 billion every year to Apple and others to secure its search engine default status on phones and web browsers. (AFP)

Meta, IBM launch alliance to keep AI’s future open

Meta, IBM and dozens of startups and researchers have launched an alliance defending a more open and collaborative method to develop artificial intelligence, setting up a clash with OpenAI and Google over the technology’s future.