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New Voices Weigh in on Google's Dominance and Business Practices

Both small and large outlets have weighed in on this week’s hearing with Eric Schmidt. Reporters  all over the nation have been interviewing top legal experts and business owners, chronicling how Google’s market dominance is hurting small business and competition. Here are some quotes:

“‘Google is a great American success story, but its size, position and power in the marketplace have raised concerns about its business practices, and raised the question of what responsibilities come with that power,’ said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who is a member of the antitrust subcommittee and who as the attorney general of Connecticut played a leading role among the states that sued Microsoft.” The New York Times, “Scrutinizing Google’s Reign,” By Steve Lohr and Claire Cain Miller, September 18, 2011

“No one disputes that Google dominates other search engines such as Yahoo or Microsoft’s Bing. Google handles 65 percent of all Internet search requests in the United States and 80 percent of searches in Europe, according to surveys. That gives the company a stranglehold not only on online searches, but also on online advertising for search engines…The question is whether Google unfairly uses its dominance to gain an advantage for its own services and advertising clients. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice are examining whether the company has become an anti-competitive monopoly that requires federal intervention.” Minnesota Star Tribune, “Google’s search formula faces scrutiny,” By Jim Spencer, September 19, 2011

“‘Google chose to enter the flight search market with a similar business model to ours. Which is fine, as entrepreneurs we welcome and thrive on competition,’ said Kayak Chief Marketing Officer Robert Birge, ‘The concern was that Google would simultaneously enter the market and be in a position to undermine their competitors by controlling this underlying asset.’…The Justice Department was equally concerned, allowing Google to proceed with the $700 million acquisition provided it signed a five-year agreement to allow the government to monitor the company’s business practices related to the ITA databases. That agreement also restricted Google from seeing how their competitors are using the database. Birge says U.S. antitrust law could protect Kayak and other travel search competitors after the agreement’s expiration.” CT Tech Junkie, “Norwalk’s Kayak Taking on Google Over Business Practices,” By Lon Seidman, September 19, 2011

And to close out the coverage, a list of Google’s anticompetitive behavior as read in Fortune:

  • “Yelp gets popular? Copy their info, shove Yelp to the bottom of the page and put Google Places and reviews at the top.
  • Groupon won’t sell? Spend billions from other businesses to destroy them.
  • Twitter and Facebook innovate on search? Take their content, whine when they try and stop you then spend billions to prevent their growth and hopefully destroy them.
  • Apple working on a touchscreen smartphone? Spend billions from another business and copy everything you can, down to swipes and apps.
  • Need a smartphone operating system with Java. Take Java and use it for your own ends.
  • Need a location mapping technology and Skyhook won’t sell? Spend billions from your monopoly profits and strongarm your partners and drive Skyhook out of business.
  • Buy up the big travel search sites.
  • Claim you are open source but share nothing related to what your business claims to be about — search, and nothing related to how you make your money — advertising
  • Claim you are open and standards based but control who gets access to your smartphone operating system
  • Like all rich monopolists, they spend millions hiring high priced lobbyists and public relations teams inside the Beltway — for their direct benefit”

Fortune, September 19, “The antitrust case against Google,” by Philip Elmer-Dewitt, 2011

Stay tuned for more!