A crackdown in the US on reducing the power of American internet titans appeared imminent only a few years ago.
Bosses from Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook had been hauled before Congress and President Joe Biden was putting in place a slew of officials known for their tough-on-tech views.
But efforts by Congress to write new rules tackling issues such as privacy and disinformation are all but dead, and in the courts, tech firms have won a series of high-profile victories in cases challenging their responsibility for content on their platforms and their right to buy up other firms.
On Tuesday, the next legal battle will begin – a high-stakes trial that pits the government against Google.
The company is accused of unfairly cementing its position as the world’s go-to search engine by paying billions of dollars to phone-makers like Apple and web browsers like Mozilla to be installed as the default option.
The arrangements, according to the legal action, provided Google, which manages about 90% of all global search inquiries, such a data edge that it prevented competitors from establishing themselves and broke US competition rules.
The lawsuit, which was brought against the tech industry in the last months of the Trump administration in 2020, is seen as a historic case because it is the most significant test of whether the US government can succeed in its efforts to regulate the sector.
Over the course of the 10-week trial, officials from Apple and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, Sundar Pichai, are also anticipated to testify.
According to analysts, this might provide rivals like Microsoft’s Bing or ChatGPT the chance to gather users – and data – and make a significant adjustment that would give them additional alternatives.
A win for the administration is not guaranteed, though.
As long as Google has offered a better product, competitors have been unable to come to their own agreements, according to Google.