FairSearch Statement on Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's Non-Responsive Answers to Senate Antitrust Subcommittee
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt continued today to thumb his nose at Senators’ concerns about how Google exploits its monopoly power in its business practices, contradicting in his written answers Google’s stated business policies and his own testimony at the hearing. Schmidt and Google are entitled to their arguments – but not their own facts. His responses today are in keeping with Google’s ‘trust us’ attitude and disdain for anyone who dares question Google’s motives and practices.
Schmidt’s non-responsive reply to the Subcommittee is evidence that those investigating Google must ‘search on’ for real answers to the serious questions about how Google uses its monopoly power in the market. Schmidt may be chairman of one of the most powerful companies in the world, but he cannot simply make facts and evidence of Google’s pattern of anti-competitive business practices disappear by denying their existence.
In his answers today, Schmidt repeatedly denies the premise of Senators’ questions about Google’s policy of favoring its own services over all other sites. Schmidt even backtracks from his testimony at the hearing that Google is “in the area” of monopoly power. His evasiveness stands in contrast to his acknowledgement at the hearing of a “great responsibility” that comes with Google’s power.
As he did at the hearing, Schmidt’s written answers today minimize and distort the concerns raised by Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman’s testimony that Google’s unlicensed use of content from other sites, and placement of Google Products above most other sites steers users to Google and away from competing sites.
Schmidt’s answers show a lack of respect for the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, the nation’s antitrust laws, the importance of competition and innovation to the U.S. economy, and to the businesses and consumers that rely on Google to find each other online.
At the end of the day, the facts and evidence gathered by investigators about Google’s business will determine the actions taken by Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, the U.S. FTC and Attorneys General in Texas, California, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma and Mississippi to ensure that competition, innovation and consumers win out over Google’s attempt to use its dominance to tilt the playing field in its favor.
FairSearch applauds the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee’s efforts to try to get Google to provide more answers about the company’s practices, and encourages the Subcommittee to continue to press for more about the practices that Google denies exist.
‘Trust us’ is no longer an acceptable answer to serious questions about how Google uses its monopoly power to entrench its own dominance online and hurt consumers, advertisers and other innovators. Google’s denial of its own monopoly power is not only laughable, but proof that the Senate and federal, state and international law enforcement agencies must continue to search for the truth about how Google uses its enormous power to advantage itself and hurt competitors trying to reach consumers on the Internet.