The internet is really the ‘Google web’ - 10 things Satya Nadella said at Google’s antitrust trial
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave a landmark testimony in the Google antitrust case calling out the company for its monopolistic behavior, and more. Here are the biggest 10 things he said.
On Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took the stand in the ongoing major antitrust trial of Google. He is appearing as a star witness for the US against Google. The trial's primary contention is that Google is using illegal and unfair practices to extend its monopoly in the market and is establishing a consumer behavior that makes it impossible for rivals to exist. Nadella, during his three-and-a-half hour-long testimony, mentioned a number of points to affirm the same and highlight the exclusive deals Google made in order to become the ‘default' option for consumers. He also claimed that the internet is really the ‘Google web'. Let us take a look at the 10 things Satya Nadella said during the antitrust trial.
10 things Satya Nadella said at the Google's antitrust trial
1. Nadella explained that the search engine segment is the “largest software category out there by far” and that Microsoft did not need to be a category leader in order to generate profits from the Bing business. "I used to think of Windows and Office as attractive businesses until I saw search,” he added.
2. Emphasizing the role of defaults in building consumer behavior, the Microsoft CEO pointed towards Google's deals with Apple where the former became the default search engine on all Apple devices. He said that if Microsoft got the opportunity to become the default on Safari, “it would be a game-changer”. He added, “Defaults are the only thing that matters in terms of changing user behavior”.
3. Nadella also said that the internet is really the “Google web, highlighting the influence and power the company had over consumers by becoming the default search experience on smartphones, tablets, and web browsers alike.
4. He also called the notion that it is easy to change user behavior “bogus”. "We are one of the alternatives but we're not the default,” he added.
5. Nadella also looked at the future and expressed his concerns that a similar battle between the two companies could ensue over artificial intelligence which was bound to get vicious over winning the market. “Despite my enthusiasm that there is a new angle with A.I., I worry a lot that this vicious cycle that I'm trapped in could get even more vicious,” he said.
6. Nadella also called out the ‘problematic' behavior of tech companies locking up exclusive deals with big content makers, a big part of people's lives online. “When I am meeting with publishers now, they say Google's going to write this check and it's exclusive and you have to match it,” Nadella said.
7. The Microsoft CEO also highlighted that the AI race was also going to become more one-sided by virtue of Google's dominance over the content of large websites. Calling search engines “the organizing layer of the internet”, he pointed towards the system where website owners allow search engines to crawl the content in order to allow themselves to rank on the results page.
8. Pointing out the problem with exclusive deals, Nadella asked, “What is publicly available today, will it be publicly available tomorrow?” He mentioned that many publishers were asking Microsoft to match the price placed by Google via exclusive deals and it meant that these websites and content platforms may not even appear on Bing.
9. He also defended the stance that despite bundling Bing and Edge with Windows PC, the popularity of Google Search and Chrome browser proved that defaults don't really matter. Nadella said that Bing's market share on Windows is somewhere in the teens (11-20 percent) as opposed to “low, low single digits” on mobile, which is an important context to understand why defaults were important.
10. Nadella, responding to Judge Amit Mehta who asked the Microsoft CEO to share his opinion on whether users can easily switch search engines, said, “My only argument against that is that users don't switch”. He gave the example of Apple Maps which had a terrible beginning owing to glitches and issues, but it still gained market share in the last decade as it comes preinstalled with every iPhone. “People use it, it's the default,” he added.