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US Claims Google Pays More Than $10 Billion A Year To Maintain Its Search Dominance

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Google has used its dominance in the internet search industry to keep competitors out and stifle innovation, the Department of Justice alleged Tuesday at the start of the largest antitrust trial in the United States in a quarter-century.

“This is a case about the future of the internet and whether Google’s search engine will ever face meaningful competition,” said Kenneth Dintzer, the main counsel for the Justice Department.

Over the next ten weeks, federal and state attorneys general will aim to show that Google rigged the market in its favor by making its search engine the default choice in various places and devices. A verdict from U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta is likely early next year. If he finds that theyviolated the law, a new trial will be held to determine what steps should be taken to rein in the Mountain View, California-based business.

Top officials from Google, Alphabet Inc. and other strong technology companies are slated to testify. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, who succeeded co-founder Larry Page four years ago, is likely to be among them. Court filings also indicate that Eddy Cue, a senior Apple official, may be summoned to testify.

During the Trump administration, the Justice Department launched an antitrust action against Google, alleging that the firm leveraged its dominance in internet search to acquire an unfair advantage over competitors. Government lawyers claim that Google protects its brand through payola, paying billions of dollars per year to be the default search engine on the iPhone and web browsers such as Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox.

“Google pays more than $10 billion per year for these privileged positions,” claimed Dintzer.

“Google’s contracts ensure that rivals cannot match the search quality ad monetization, especially on phones,” Dintzer explained. “This wheel has been turning for more than 12 years thanks to this feedback loop.” It always works in Google’s favor.”

According to Dintzer, the more queries Google performs, the more data it accumulates – data that can be used to optimize future searches and give them an even stronger advantage over its competitors. “User data is the oxygen for a search engine,” he explained. As a result of its market domination, “Google search and ad products are better than its rivals can hope to be.” That is why, he claims, the company spends so much for its search engine to be the default option on Apple and other companies’ products.

Dintzer said that Google “began weaponizing defaults” more than 15 years ago, citing an internal Google paper that referred to their settings as an “Achilles Heel” for competing search engines such as Yahoo and MSN.

He also claimed that Google coerced Apple into making its search engine the default on their iPhones in exchange for revenue-sharing payments. “This is not a negotiation,” Dintzer declared. “This is what Google is saying: Take it or leave it.” According to the lawsuit, Apple’s anticompetitive activities stopped it from establishing its search engine.

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The U.S. Google has used its dominance in the internet search industry to keep competitors out and stifle innovation.

Dintzer claimed that they erased documents to keep them out of court proceedings and attempted to conceal others under attorney-client privilege. Dintzer stated, “They destroyed documents for years.” “They turned off history, your honor, so they could rewrite it here.”

Google replies that, although controlling over 90% of the internet search market, it confronts a wide range of competition. Google claims its competitors span from search engines like Microsoft’s Bing to websites like Amazon and Yelp, where customers may post inquiries about what to buy or where to go. “There are lots of ways users access the web other than default search engines, and people use them all the time,” said attorney John Schmidtlein, a partner at Williams & Connolly who represents the company.

According to Google, continuous improvements to its search engine explain why people almost reflexively return to it, a habit that has long rendered “Googling” synonymous with searching things on the internet. Schmidtlein, for example, stated that the changes made their search superior to main rival Bing. “At every critical juncture,” he explained, “they were beaten in the market.”

The trial starts just a few weeks after the 25th anniversary of the company’s first investment — a $100,000 cheque issued by Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim that allowed Page and Sergey Brin to set up shop in a Silicon Valley garage.

Today, Alphabet, their corporate parent, is worth $1.7 trillion and employs 182,000 people. Most of its revenue comes from $224 billion in annual ad revenues flowing through a digital services network centered on a search engine that processes billions of daily requests.

google

The U.S. Google has used its dominance in the internet search industry to keep competitors out and stifle innovation.

The Justice Department’s antitrust complaint is similar to the one it brought against Microsoft in 1998. Regulators then accused Microsoft of compelling computer manufacturers who used its dominant Windows operating system to include Microsoft’s Internet Explorer — just as the internet became more popular. That bundling practice killed Netscape, the once-popular browser.

Several members of the Justice Department’s Google case team, including Dintzer, worked on the Microsoft probe as well.

Google could be hampered if the trial results in concessions that limit its influence. One possibility is that they will be obliged to stop paying Apple and other companies to be the default search engine on smartphones and desktops.

Alternatively, the legal struggle may cause the company to lose focus. That’s what happened after Microsoft’s antitrust battle with the Justice Department. Distracted by its distractions, the software behemoth struggled to adjust to the impact of internet searches and cell phones. Google used that diversion to propel itself from a startup to a formidable superpower.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Boeing CEO Defends His Safety Record, Spars With Senators And Apologizes To Crash Victims’ Relatives

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Boeing | AP News Image

During a bruising Senate hearing on Tuesday, Boeing CEO David Calhoun defended the company’s safety record while members accused him of prioritizing profits over safety, failing to protect whistleblowers, and even receiving excessive pay.

Relatives of victims killed in two Boeing 737 Max plane tragedies were in the room, some holding photos of their loved ones to remind the CEO of the dangers. Calhoun began his speech by standing, turning to face the families, and apologizing “for the grief that we have caused,” pledging to prioritize safety.

Calhoun’s testimony before Congress was the first by a high-ranking Boeing official since a panel blew off a 737 Max on an Alaska Airlines flight in January. The event did not result in significant injuries but aroused new concerns about the company’s best-selling commercial aircraft.

The tone of the hearing before the Senate investigations subcommittee was established hours earlier when the panel released a 204-page report containing additional charges from a whistleblower who expressed concern that defective parts were being used in 737s. The whistleblower is the latest in a long line of current and former Boeing employees who have expressed concerns about the company’s manufacturing practices, which federal regulators are investigating.

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Boeing | AP News Image

Boeing CEO Defends His Safety Record, Spars With Senators And Apologizes To Crash Victims’ Relatives

“This hearing is a moment of reckoning,” subcommittee chairman Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., declared. “It’s about a company, a once iconic company, that somehow lost its way.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., blamed Calhoun, claiming that the man who became CEO in January 2020 was too focused on the bottom line.

“You are cutting corners, you are eliminating safety procedures, you are sticking it to your employees, you are cutting back jobs because you are trying to squeeze very piece of profit you can out of this company,” Hawley stated in a higher tone. “You are strip-mining Boeing.”

Hawley repeatedly cited Calhoun’s $32.8 million salary from last year and questioned why the CEO had not resigned.

“Senator, I’m going to see this through. I’m proud to have taken this position. I’m pleased of our safety record, and I’m proud of our Boeing employees,” said Calhoun, who has announced his resignation by the end of the year.

Hawley interrupted. “You’re proud of the safety record?” he asked, perplexed.

“I am proud of every action we have taken,” Calhoun said.

Senators grilled Calhoun on allegations that Boeing managers penalized employees who raised safety concerns. They asked the CEO if he had ever spoken with any whistleblowers. He said he hadn’t but agreed it was a nice idea.

The latest whistleblower, Sam Mohawk, a quality assurance investigator at Boeing’s 737 assembly facility outside Seattle, told the subcommittee that “nonconforming” parts — those that could be defective or not properly documented — could end up in 737 Max aircraft.

Mohawk alleged that Boeing suppressed evidence after the Federal Aviation Administration informed the business that it planned to inspect the factory in June 2023.

“Once Boeing received such a notice, it ordered the majority of the (nonconforming) parts that were being stored outside to be moved to another location,” Mohawk stated in the report. “Approximately 80% of the parts were moved to avoid the watchful eyes of the FAA inspectors.”

Mohawk stated that the parts, which included rudders, wing flaps, and other components necessary for aircraft control, were later returned or lost.

A Boeing spokeswoman stated that the firm received the subcommittee report late Monday night and is evaluating the claims.

The FAA stated that it would “thoroughly investigate” the allegations. A spokeswoman stated that the government has received more reports of safety issues from Boeing personnel since the January 5 rupture on the Alaska Airlines Max.

The 737 Max has a troublesome history. After Max jets crashed in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019, killing 346 people each, the FAA and other agencies grounded the aircraft for more than a year and a half. The Justice Department is considering prosecuting Boeing for breaking the terms of a 2021 settlement over charges that the corporation misled regulators who authorized the plane.

Mohawk told the Senate hearing that the quantity of problematic parts has increased dramatically since production of the Max resumed following the incidents. He claimed that the increase prompted superiors to instruct him and other employees to “cancel” documents indicating that the parts were unsuitable for plane installation.

Following the mid-air burst of a plug covering an emergency exit on an Alaska Airlines plane in January, the FAA temporarily grounded certain Max flights. The agency and the National Transportation Safety Board began separate investigations into Boeing, which are still ongoing.

boeing

Boeing | AP News Image

Boeing CEO Defends His Safety Record, Spars With Senators And Apologizes To Crash Victims’ Relatives

Calhoun stated that Boeing has responded to the Alaska tragedy by reducing production, encouraging employees to raise safety problems, shutting down assembly lines daily to allow workers to discuss safety, and appointing a former Navy admiral to conduct a quality review. Late last month, Boeing delivered an improvement plan requested by the FAA.

Calhoun defended the company’s safety culture, admitting it “is far from perfect.”

The drumbeat of bad news for Boeing has continued throughout the last week. The FAA said it was looking into how falsely documented titanium parts ended up in Boeing’s supply chain; the company revealed that fasteners were incorrectly installed on the fuselages of some jets, and federal officials examined “substantial” damage to a Southwest Airlines 737 Max following an unusual mid-flight control issue.

During the hearing, Howard McKenzie, Boeing’s top engineer, stated that the problem with the Southwest airliner, which he did not describe in detail, was limited to that plane.

Blumenthal first requested Calhoun’s appearance before the Senate subcommittee when another whistleblower, a Boeing quality engineer, claimed that manufacturing flaws were posing safety hazards on two of Boeing’s largest jets, the 787 Dreamliner and the 777. He stated that the corporation needed to explain why the public should believe in Boeing’s work.

Boeing denied the whistleblower’s assertions, claiming that comprehensive testing and inspections revealed none of the issues the engineer had foreseen.

boeing

Boeing | AP News Image

Boeing CEO Defends His Safety Record, Spars With Senators And Apologizes To Crash Victims’ Relatives

Last month, the Justice Department found that Boeing breached a 2021 settlement that protected the firm from fraud charges for allegedly deceiving regulators who approved the 737 Max. According to a senior department official, Boeing failed to implement steps to detect and prevent future infractions of anti-fraud rules.

Prosecutors have until July 7 to decide what they will do next. Blumenthal claimed that there is “mounting evidence” that the firm should be penalized.

Families of the victims of the Max crashes have frequently urged the Justice Department to punish the business and its leaders. They want a federal judge in Texas to overturn the 2021 deferred-prosecution agreement or DPA — effectively a plea deal — that allowed Boeing to escape prosecution for fraud in connection with the Max.

Catherine Berthet, whose daughter Camille perished in the second disaster, stated outside the Capitol on Tuesday that despite having three years to improve their safety process, they failed to do so. “Now they have to be made accountable.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Apple Kills Off Its Buy Now, Pay Later Service Service Barely A Year After Launch

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Apple | AP news Image

NEW YORK — Apple is abandoning its purchase now, pay later service, known as Apple Pay Later, less than a year after its first debut in the United States, and will rely on industry leaders such as Affirm and Klarna.

It’s an admission from a firm recognized for creating successful products that are starting a financial services business from scratch, as Apple has done for several years, is challenging and competitive.

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Apple | Investing Image

Apple Kills Off Its Buy Now, Pay Later Service Service Barely A Year After Launch

Apple Pay Later, introduced with fanfare in March 2023, allows iPhone consumers to split purchases of up to $1,000 into four equal installments with no fees or interest. The program was Apple’s response to the growing global popularity of purchase now, pay later services, which were viewed as a significant threat to companies such as Klarna, Affirm, and others.

However, Apple Pay Later was only available where Apple Pay was accepted, whereas the other buy now, pay later providers had strong integration with millions of merchant websites.

In recognition of how popular purchase now and pay later services have grown, Apple announced at its developer conference this month that it will begin allowing banks to provide buy now and pay later plans to their clients via Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. Affirm would be integrated directly into Apple Wallet, allowing Apple customers to open an Affirm account instantly.

apple

Apple | Linked In

Apple Kills Off Its Buy Now, Pay Later Service Service Barely A Year After Launch

“With the introduction of this new global installment loan offering, we will no longer offer Apple Pay Later in the U.S.,” Apple stated late Monday. “Our focus continues to be on providing our users with access to easy, secure and private payment options with Apple Pay, and this solution will enable us to bring flexible payments to more users, in more places across the globe, in collaboration with Apple Pay enabled banks and lenders.”

Despite unveiling plans to integrate Affirm directly into Apple Wallet earlier this month, Apple executives stated that Apple Pay Later was still in the works.

Apple Pay Later was unique since Apple needed to establish its bank to provide loans. The Apple Card is issued by Goldman Sachs, which means that Goldman selects who is accepted and what spending limits each user has.

apple

Apple | Brand News Image

Apple Kills Off Its Buy Now, Pay Later Service Service Barely A Year After Launch

Apple will no longer provide new Apple Pay Later loans, but customers who already have them will be able to manage them using Apple Pay.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Boeing CEO Is Appearing Before A Senate Panel As A New Whistleblower Emerges

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Boeing | AP News Image

U.S. legislators are set to question Boeing’s CEO on Tuesday about the company’s newest plan to address manufacturing issues, and relatives of those killed in two Boeing 737 Max airliner tragedies will be in the room to watch.

CEO David Calhoun is slated to testify before the Senate investigations subcommittee, chaired by Boeing critic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

Hours before Calhoun was scheduled to appear, the Senate panel issued a 204-page report including additional allegations from a whistleblower who is concerned that “nonconforming” parts — those that may be defective or not properly recorded — are being installed in 737 Max jets.

boeing

Boeing | Fox Image

Boeing CEO Is Appearing Before A Senate Panel As A New Whistleblower Emerges

Sam Mohawk, a quality assurance investigator at Boeing’s 737 assembly factory outside Seattle, claims the corporation concealed proof of the condition after the Federal Aviation Administration told it a year ago that it would inspect the facility.

“Once Boeing received such a notice, it ordered the majority of the (nonconfirming) parts that were being stored outside to be moved to another location to intentionally hide improperly stored parts from the FAA,” Mohawk stated in the study. “Approximately 80% of the parts were moved to avoid the watchful eyes of the FAA inspectors.”

Mohawk stated the parts were later returned or lost. They included rudders, wing flaps, and tail fins, all necessary for plane control.

The panel stated that records and whistleblower statements “paint a troubling picture of a company that prioritises manufacturing speed and cost savings over ensuring aircraft quality and safety.”

The hearing will be Calhoun’s first appearance before Congress or any other high-ranking Boeing official since a panel blew out a 737 Max during an Alaska Airlines flight in January. The event did not result in significant injuries but aroused new concerns about the company’s best-selling commercial aircraft.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration conduct separate investigations.

“From the start, we accepted responsibility and worked transparently with the NTSB and the FAA,” Calhoun stated in prepared statements for the hearing. He defended the company’s safety culture.

“Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress,” Calhoun said during his prepared remarks. “We are taking comprehensive action today to strengthen safety and quality.”

Blumenthal heard this previously when Boeing dealt with fatal Max crashes in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019.

“Boeing pledged to change its safety processes and culture five years ago. “That promise proved empty, and the American people deserve an explanation,” Blumenthal stated while announcing the hearing. He described Calhoun’s statement as a critical step for Boeing to regain public trust.

Boeing

Boeing | NBC Image

Boeing CEO Is Appearing Before A Senate Panel As A New Whistleblower Emerges

Calhoun’s presence was also scheduled as the Justice Department considered whether to charge Boeing for violating the settlement terms reached following the tragic crashes.

The firm says it received the message. Boeing says it has reduced production, encouraged employees to raise safety issues, shut down assembly lines daily to allow workers to discuss safety, and appointed a former Navy admiral to conduct a quality review. Late last month, it delivered an improvement plan requested by the FAA.

The barrage of bad news for Boeing continues, however.

Last week, the FAA announced an investigation into how falsely documented titanium parts entered Boeing’s supply chain, and federal inspectors investigated “substantial” damage to a Southwest Airlines 737 Max following an unexpected mid-flight control issue.

Boeing said that it hasn’t received a single request for a new Max—its previous best-selling airliner—in two months.

Blumenthal first requested Calhoun’s appearance before the Senate subcommittee when a Boeing quality engineer whistleblower claimed that production flaws were posing safety hazards on two of Boeing’s largest jets, the 787 Dreamliner and the 777. He stated that the corporation needed to explain why the public should believe in Boeing’s work.

Boeing denied the whistleblower’s assertions, claiming that comprehensive testing and inspections revealed none of the issues the engineer had foreseen.

boeing

Boeing | CNBC Image

Boeing CEO Is Appearing Before A Senate Panel As A New Whistleblower Emerges

Calhoun announced in late March that he would retire at the end of the year. The leader of the company’s commercial aeroplanes segment quit on the same day.

Families of those killed in the Boeing Max disaster in Ethiopia intend to attend Tuesday’s hearing on Capitol Hill. They have frequently asked the Justice Department to pursue Boeing.

Zipporah Kuria, whose father was killed in the collision, stated, “We will not rest until justice is served.” She urged the US government to “hold Boeing and its corporate executives criminally responsible for the deaths of 346 people.”

Last month, the Justice Department found that Boeing breached a 2021 settlement that protected the firm from fraud charges for allegedly deceiving regulators who approved the 737 Max. According to a senior department official, Boeing failed to implement steps to detect and prevent future infractions of anti-fraud rules.

Prosecutors have until July 7 to decide what they will do next.

SOURCE – (AP)

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