Then and Now: Google Witness Susan Creighton Concerned About "Gatekeeper's Control of the Flow of Information and Electronic Commerce" in 2000
Tomorrow, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and a panel of witnesses will testify before Congress about the “power of Google.” In addition to Schmidt, Tom Barnett counsel to Expedia (testifying on behalf of FairSearch.org), Yelp! CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and Nextag CEO Jeff Katz.
But who is Susan Creighton?
For one, she is Google’s counsel. But she also has a long history working in antitrust issues. In fact, we did a little digging and found that she was influential in the Microsoft case 10 years ago. Here’s what she had to say in a white paper she co-authored about the issue.
“’This is, at bottom, a very simple case,’ the Netscape white paper stated. ‘It is about a monopolist (Microsoft) that has maintained its monopoly for more than 10 years. That monopoly is threatened by the introduction of a new technology (Web software) that is a partial substitute — and, in time — could become a complete substitute for the monopoly product.’
The Netscape white paper also pointed toward a broader public-policy issue surrounding Microsoft. Personal computers were the way people get onto the Internet and thus, the paper asserted, Microsoft’s industry-dominant Windows operating system could give the company a gatekeeper’s control of the flow of information and electronic commerce in the future.
‘There is no reason to believe,’ the Netscape document warned, ‘that Microsoft’s monopoly power will be confined to a single industry.’”
Wait a second. That sounds awfully similar to “the power of Google.” See here with a few changes in bold…
”It is about a monopolist [Google] that has maintained its monopoly for more than 10 years. That monopoly is threatened by the introduction of a new technology [vertical search engines] that is a partial substitute — and, in time — could become a complete substitute for the monopoly product.
Whoa. Are you hearing what we’re hearing!?
Granted, Creighton will have all of Google’s talking points tomorrow but this seems to be a true picture of her stance on an investigation of a dominant company.
To borrow from last week’s blog series, should we take Google counsel, Susan Creighton at her word? If so, which one?