DOJ case in opposition to Google seemingly will not go to trial till late 2023, choose says

The Google logo outside the New York offices that closed on May 19, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ben Gabbe / Getty Images

The Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Google is unlikely to go on trial until late 2023, Judge Amit Mehta said at a status hearing on Friday.

Both parties agreed that this was a likely schedule, and the judge set September 12, 2023 as the tentative date for the trial to begin.

The proposed schedule shows how long Google (and likely Facebook) will fight the US government’s antitrust challenges. Google is now facing three lawsuits from different groups of states and the DOJ, some of which could be consolidated before the same judge.

This means both that the Google business review is likely to be in the spotlight for several years, and any changes that might be ordered by the court would take a long time. In the short term, this is good news for investors who don’t need to worry about immediate structural changes that could affect the company’s value, such as spinning off key businesses. But it also means that Google will face a major distraction and could tentatively open up new businesses and make major acquisitions in the coming years.

Mehta had indicated at previous status hearings that he wanted to move the case forward quickly. However, the proposed timeframe shows that even a relatively quick process can take years. A DOJ attorney estimated the process could take ten to twelve weeks, though a Google attorney said he expected it would take a lot less time, provided the case goes to court. Mehta said he was putting the over / under line at five and a half weeks.

CLOCK: How US antitrust law works and what it means for big tech

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