Sen. Kohl Announces Plans To Scrutinize Google's Dominance
Senate Antitrust Committee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) released the panel’s agenda for the year yesterday, singling out Google’s growing dominance online, and offering that the subcommittee “will closely examine allegations raised by e-commerce websites that compete with Google that they are being treated unfairly in search ranking, and in their ability to purchase search advertising.”
Here’s what he had to say in full about competition in Internet Search and online markets:
“Access to the wealth of information and e-commerce on the Internet is essential for consumers and business alike. As the Internet continues to grow in importance to the national economy, businesses and consumers, the Subcommittee will strive to ensure that this sector remains competitive, that Internet search is fair to its users and customers, advertisers have sufficient choices, and that consumers’ privacy is guarded.
In recent years, the dominance over Internet search of the world’s largest search engine, Google, has increased and Google has increasingly sought to acquire e-commerce sites in myriad businesses. In this regard, we will closely examine allegations raised by e-commerce websites that compete with Google that they are being treated unfairly in search ranking, and in their ability to purchase search advertising. We also will continue to closely examine the impact of further acquisitions in this sector.”
As a reminder, Senator Kohl voiced his concern over Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA Software in December, stating that, “[t]his deal has the potential to greatly impact the robust online air travel search and booking markets relied on today by millions of consumers and it warrants a careful review by the Antitrust Division.”
A hearing on Google’s dominance and credible allegations that Google biases search results to favor its own products would be a welcome step toward fostering a more healthy, competitive Internet ecosystem. FairSearch applauds Sen. Kohl for his leadership in focusing the subcommittee on protecting consumer choice and innovation in Internet search and related services.