In brief: Despite Alphabet's objections, the judge presiding over the US Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against Google ruled that the DoJ can publish trial documents online. However, the ruling is not without exception, and both parties are to resolve objections to sensitive materials by the next business day.
The side fighting started over a week ago when the DoJ posted dozens of emails and other Google documents used in the trial to its website. Google filed an injunction claiming that the document dump revealed trade secrets and promoted "clickbait" headlines. Bloomberg notes that the Justice Department removed the documents last week while the two litigants argued in front of the judge before coming to an arrangement.
Under the ruling, the DoJ can publish trial exhibits "as soon as it is reasonable to do so." However, Google and any other parties mentioned in the documents have until 9:00 p.m. each day after the hearing to make objections. The litigants must resolve these disputes through redaction or other means by the beginning of the next day, at which point the DoJ is free to publish the full or redacted exhibits.
The case is the Justice Department's first antitrust action to make it to trial in decades, according to NPR. The lawsuit argues that Google has erected a monopoly that puts it illegally at the center of everyone's attention whenever they conduct a search on their phones or browsers. One of the DoJ's more prominent points revolves around a deal between Alphabet and Apple to make Google the default search engine on the iPhone and other devices.
Today, Apple's former senior VP of services, Eddy Cue, testified that the two companies entered a revenue-sharing agreement in 2002. Under the contract, Apple would get a portion of Google's advertising revenue if it kept the search engine as the default on Apple devices and Safari.
In 2016, Apple renegotiated the contract, asking for a bigger slice of the pie for searches conducted on Apple hardware. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was reluctant and wanted to keep the deal unchanged. Eventually, the two tech giants worked out a continuing agreement for an undisclosed amount. The DoJ estimates the price tag at about $19 billion per year.
Cue also said the contract had a clause that bound both companies to support and defend the deal if it came under regulatory scrutiny. Cue claims that Apple had no choice but to broker the deal with Google since there were no "valid alternatives" other than search engines its customers were unfamiliar with or were not as trusted.