The United States government is taking on one of the world's most powerful companies: Google. A court battle kicks off on Tuesday in which the U.S. Justice Department will argue that Google abused its power as a monopoly to dominate the search engine business. It's the government's first major monopoly case to make it to trial in decades and the first in the age of the modern internet. The Justice Department's case hinges on claims that Google illegally orchestrated its business dealings so that it's the first search engine people see when they turn on their phones and web browsers. The government says Google's goal was to stomp out competition. "This lawsuit strikes at the heart of Google's grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist," said former Attorney General William Barr when the case was first filed in October 2020. Now nearly three years later, with millions of pages of documents produced and depositions from more than 150 people, the case is going to trial. The government's case challenges how tech companies are able to amass power and control the products people now use daily in their lives. The outcome of the case could change how tech giants are able to do business and, in effect, how the internet is run. Google, which is worth $1.7 trillion, controls around 90% of the U.S. search engine market. It's put together a massive legal team and brought on outside law firms to help fight its case. The company says its search product is superior to competitors and that is why it dominates the industry. Google says if people don't want to use its search engine, they can just switch to another. "People don't use Google because they have to — they use it because they want to," Kent Walker, one of Google's top lawyers and its president of global affairs, wrote in an emailed statement. "It's easy to switch your default search engine — we're long past the era of dial-up internet and CD-ROMs." The last antitrust case of this magnitude took place in 1998, when the Justice Department sued Microsoft. That trial centered around claims that Microsoft illegally grouped its various products together in a way that both stifled competition and compelled people to use its products. The judge ruled in favor of the Justice Department in that case, saying Microsoft violated antitrust laws and held "an oppressive thumb on the scale of competitive fortune." The Justice Department's case against Google is strikingly similar and its lawyers are angling for the same outcome. "That case was about a monopolist tech platform and the government won," says Rebecca Haw Allensworth, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School who specializes in antitrust law. "And so, everybody has viewed that as a kind of blueprint for how we might enforce the laws against the current tech giants." Learn more by visiting OUR FORUM.