According to reports, Apple and other technology companies said that the confidential documents submitted to help the US government launch an antitrust investigation against Google were too sensitive and should not be shared with Google’s internal lawyers. Apple said in a document submitted to the Federal Court in Washington on Friday that the information they provided to the U.S. Department of Justice is “extremely sensitive”. If Google’s internal lawyers have access to this information, it would cause “substantial harm” to Apple. Amazon, AT&T, Microsoft, Oracle, Comcast, Sonos, Duck Duck Go, and T-Mobile USA also have similar views.
Since the US government sued Google for abusing its dominant market position to suppress competitors, concerns about the leakage of this information have always existed. The U.S. Department of Justice and Google have clashed over the scope of information collection before the prosecution. The trial judge, Amit Mehta, is yet to make a ruling.
A proposal from the U.S. Department of Justice states that companies that provide information to it can designate some documents as “top secret”. This way, the defendants (in this case, Google) lawyers will not have access to them. The US government believes that allowing Google to view this information will further strengthen its market position.
Google has a lot to handle in court
Analysts estimate that Google pays billions of dollars to Apple every year. This is because it is the default search engine for the iPhone and other Apple products. Apple said that the relevant documents are related to negotiations between Apple and Google and other search engines. Furthermore, the documents may also disclose Apple’s internal discussions on these issues.
“The disclosure of this information to Google will directly affect the future business cooperation between Apple and Google, giving Google a significant advantage in negotiations with Apple, and even placing other search engines that negotiate with Apple and other software companies at a disadvantage.” He said.
Google’s business has been under scrutiny for a very long time. The Turkish government recently slammed a $26 million fine on Google for unfair competition in its advertising business. Presently, Google is facing a similar investigation in India, the U.S, and the European Union. According to reports, Airbnb submitted a US IPO application, seeking to list and trade on the Nasdaq exchange with ABNB. It stated in the prospectus that Google search prevented the company from gaining more network traffic.