FairSearch - for the right result

A Bipartisan Group of Senators Calls for Increased Antitrust Scrutiny of Google (UPDATED)

During yesterday’s Senate Antitrust Subcommittee hearing on “The Power of Google,” a bipartisan chorus of Senators made it clear that not only do they take antitrust violations seriously, but also that they are committed to ensuring that Google is not permitted use its dominant power unfairly to disadvantage others  in an anticompetitive manner. “We need to recognize that, as the dominant firm in Internet search, Google has special obligations under antitrust law to not deploy its market power to squelch competition,”  Senator Kohl (D-WI) noted in his opening statement. “Antitrust scrutiny is not about picking winners and losers, but is about fostering a fully competitive environment so that consumers can fairly pick winners and losers.”

What the Senators had to say:

Senator Kohl: “For the last five years or so, Google has been on an acquisition binge, acquiring dozens of Internet-related businesses… And these acquisitions raise a very fundamental question — is it possible for Google to be both an unbiased search engine and at the same time own a vast portfolio of web-based products and services? Does Google’s transformation create an inherent conflict of interest which threatens to stifle competition?”

Senator Lee:As a strong supporter of free markets, competition, and innovation, I was disappointed by the testimony of Google chairman Eric Schmidt.  I had hoped to hear the company acknowledge the responsibilities that accompany its preeminent position in the Internet search market and address concerns many have raised about Google’s possible anti-competitive activities…today’s hearing may only encourage those who are calling for legal enforcement or government regulation.”

Senator Blumenthal: “Today’s hearing was a good first look and inquiry into the questions that have been raised by Google’s market dominance. While the company is a great American success story, their position in the marketplace has led to legitimate questions about whether they have used their market power to disadvantage competitors unfairly and ultimately limit consumer choice.”

Senator Grassley: “I’ve heard from Iowans who are concerned that Google is unfairly using its market power to manipulate internet search and drive web traffic to its own sites to the detriment of small businesses and consumers.  They are frustrated by business practices that are not transparent or fair.  They are concerned that Google is engaging in anti-competitive behavior that is thwarting a competitive marketplace…I also believe that companies should not take unfair advantage of their market power, use their dominance to quash worthy competitors, and engage in deceptive business practices that negatively impact the marketplace, small businesses and consumers.”

Senator Klobuchar: “Establishing an online presence helps businesses grow their customer base and connect with consumers around the world, in turn growing their business, creating jobs, and boosting local economies,” Klobuchar said. “Today’s hearing is an opportunity to discuss ways to promote competition and innovation so that small businesses like B.W. Inc. in Browns Valley can compete online without having to break the bank.”