Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will testify Sept. 21 in front of the Senate subcomittee on antitrust. The hearing is titled "The Power of Google: Serving Customers or Threatening Competition?"
Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has a set date with the Senate on Capitol Hill
to discuss the search engine's expansive Internet market power.
served as CEO of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) for a decade before co-founder Larry Page
retook the reins in April, will testify in front of the Senate Judiciary
Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C.
If the title
of the hearing, "The Power of Google: Serving Customers or Threatening
" is any indication, the meeting could make for
some awkward and confusing moments.
subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) and his cohorts will apparently
explore whether Google's rise to power online is good for consumers-1
billion-plus users Google serves in search-or bad for Google's rivals.
The fact is
that it's not an either/or proposition. What is good for consumers-better
search-is bad for Google rivals such as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing, Yahoo
(NASDAQ:YHOO) and the litany of smaller companies-Yelp, Citysearch, etc.
speaking, when consumers find a Web service that works for them repeatedly,
they tend to return to that source over and over. It's a positive reinforcement
the Internet sector knows as customer engagement.
searchers tend to be happy with the results they receive- the company has 65
percent of the U.S. search market and more abroad-and so they keep going back
to that well for information. This creates a maddening, unbreakable loop for
of the meeting between the Senate and Schmidt will be crucial for Google, which
is defending itself both from a broad antitrust inquiry opened by the Federal Trade Commission
and a similar investigation in Europe
Schmidt to appear on Capitol Hill is a coup for Kohl and his subcommittee. When
the politicians in June requested either Schmidt or Page testify, Google told
them they wanted to send Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, who in 2007
testified before the committee regarding Google's DoubleClick acquisition.
position was that a legal issue required a legal expert to speak for the
company. Kohl and Co. threatened to subpoena the leaders
. Google relented and agreed to send Schmidt
told the media recently he was happy to oblige.
is: Will he change that tune by the conclusion of the hearing, which appears
set up as a severe critique of Google's search practices?
which opposed Google's $700 million acquisition of travel-search enabler ITA
Software last year, applauded the hearing.
is right to investigate these issues and to examine the threats that Google's
unchecked dominance poses to the Internet ecosystem," FairSearch.org said
in a statement.