CEOs for Yelp and NexTag, as well as the former DOJ antitrust enforcer took aim at Google at the Senate's hearing, where the word "monopoly" was used quite often to describe the search-engine giant.
catches the attention of the Senate at an antitrust hearing more than the world
"monopoly," and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) rivals didn't miss an
opportunity to drive that point home repeatedly during Congress' antitrust
hearing Sept. 21.
Most who attended
or watched the hearing online agreed Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt
held his own. For the most part, he answered questions respectfully and
appeared as forthcoming as possible.
some instances where he looked bad, namely when he couldn't confirm answers to
some questions. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) properly admonished Schmidt for
his fuzziness in certain answers. Yet Schmidt's candor and expertise in the
industry outshone those instances.
On the second
panel, Thomas Barnett, of Covington & Burling, NexTag CEO Jeffrey Katz, and
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman did everything but call Google the second coming of
Microsoft, which was found to be monopolistic a decade ago.
is a summary of their testimonies under oath before Congress-not a summary of
the question and answer sessions between them and the Senate. That's for
led the Justice Department's antitrust division from 2005 to 2008 and is
counsel for Expedia, spoke first for the opposition. Turning Schmidt's comment
that Google "gets" what it's like to behave badly as company against company,
Barnett said Google won't even admit to reality.
has monopoly power in paid and search advertising. You don't have to take my
word for it. You heard it. Both the Department of Justice and the Federal
Trade Commission have conducted extensive investigations, and both of them, the
expert agencies, reached factual determinations that show that Google has
explained that Google has built a search engine so good that no rival can match
it. And frankly, consumers rarely leave it, as evidenced by Google's 65 percent
U.S. search share, which is vastly greater in places overseas. The issue isn't
so much that Google has monopoly power. Schmidt himself acknowledged in his
testimony that Google plays "in that area" of monopoly.
fell short was in arguing Google abuses its monopoly power, noting that there
are results within Google search where it offers links that are not algorithmic
that take users to its own Places local search service. Google makes money from
The problem is
that Google does not disclose those links as non-algorithmic. What's not clear
is whether the majority of those clicks lead to Google results and whether that
constitutes an unfair business practice. Barnett failed to prove that.