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Google Chairman To Testify At Antitrust Hearing 93

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-the-congressional-monopoly? dept.
bonch writes "Following a threat of subpoena, Google chairman Eric Schmidt will be testifying at a Senate antitrust subcommittee in September. Google has denied acting anticompetitively and cites its success as the cause of the increased scrutiny. The Federal Trade Commission and European Commission have both launched antitrust investigations into the company, and the Justice Department is also conducting a criminal probe into their acceptance of ads from rogue web pharmacies, an investigation Google has set aside $500 million to settle."
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Google Chairman To Testify At Antitrust Hearing

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 09, 2011 @01:44PM (#36706376)

    Given that they track EVERYTHING you do, and there are other competing search engines which do not do that, why would anyone use google any more?

    If google is a monopoly (not saying they are or are not), they are so because it's what people made them. This isn't like Standard Oil where one company can make it impossible to buy from others. There are a bunch of search engines just a URL away. Google hasn't removed them from the internet.

    • by Moryath (553296)

      The problem is not becoming a monopoly.

      The problem is using their monopoly to force their way into other markets and become the de facto standard in those markets. Sort of like Microsoft forcing everybody but MS Office out of the word-processing and spreadsheet markets.

      Google's been doing very similar things with their search engine dominance, if you look at a lot of the other markets they've expanded into recently.

      • Sort of like Microsoft forcing everybody but MS Office out of the word-processing and spreadsheet markets.

        You really should learn a little more about what you are talking about. Lotus screwed themselves with numerous law suits against competing spreadsheet makers.
        "Lotus petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's opinion in a 4-4 anonymous tie vote, with Justice Stevens recusing.[6] Lotus's petition for a rehearing by the full court was denied. By the time the lawsuit ended, Borland had sold Quattro Pro to Novell, and Microsoft's Excel spre

        • by Moryath (553296) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @02:41PM (#36706726)

          You left out the part where Microsoft used hidden program hooks, undocumented, in their OS to make it so that Lotus couldn't perform as well as Office (whose development team had access to ALL of the operating system and optimized calls).

          The same crap Microsoft did to Netscape when they started trying to take over with Internet Explorer.

          The same crap Microsoft did as recently as 2009 to Firefox [s5h.net].

          Now run along and get yourself an education. You obviously don't know crap about what you are talking about.

          • You conveniently forget that it is Microsoft's OS. Microsoft is not the first, nor will it be the last to have undocumented calls/procedures in its code whether it is an operating system or a simple application. Microsoft spent upwards of 2 million dollars to develop a better spreedsheet/word processor while others where either wasting their time in court or engaging in internal corporate in-fighting. Plus, Microsoft made the applications work seamlessly together. Something at that stage of program developm

            • ...however, the bottom line is nobody is buying what you are selling.

              They're not buying it, 'cause it comes free of charge! ;)

              Try Kubuntu, with Crossover Linux (née Crossover Office), if you must run Office. You're likely to be pleasantly surprised. (I type this while waiting Win 7 Pro to complete a five-minute software install for my MS LifeCam Cinema. This camera worked out-of-the-box with Kubuntu.)

          • by Kalriath (849904)

            Oh bullshit. That thing in 2009 was about making it so the .NET Framework could actually work with Firefox. You know, compatibility? It's not fucking sabotaging at all.

            You goddamn zealots bitch if Microsoft doesn't work to make things compatible (*ooh, I can't use this ClickOnce bullshit in Firefox, Microsoft is an evil monopoly*) and you bitch if they do work to make things compatible (*ooh, Microsoft installed a plugin to Firefox to make ClickOnce work, Microsoft is an evil monopoly*).

            The only thing th

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        For example, go to Google and type in "mortgage interest rates." Google gives itself the #1 ad, at the very top. Additionally, it allows itself three lines for the ad text beneath the headline (which no other Adwords advertiser can have), it has that special "compare rates" button (which no other Adwords user can have), and it allows itself to have its ad copy in columns, which are also against Adwords' rules.

        The keyword "mortgage interest rates" is extremely valuable, and Google is leveraging its monopoly

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          Put what you want on your website. Google will put what they want on theirs. If you don't want to see what they put, don't go there. This is a first amendment issue.
    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @02:23PM (#36706632)

      Given that they track EVERYTHING you do, and there are other competing search engines which do not do that, why would anyone use google any more?

      Why would I care if they track my searches? Will they e-mail porn searches to my parents? Because that would be rather awkward, but otherwise it doesn't matter.

      There are search engines that don't track me, have equal or better methods of keeping junk from polluting the top hits, don't actually track me, don't have intrusive ads, and scout's honor don't really track me? Well then, I'll use them if I have any reason to.

      • by gl4ss (559668)
        because they'll optimize the next searches. or "optimize" rather - you know what you end up if you do that? optimizing you to visit the sites that have the same fucking adverts as the last site, optimizing your search results to actually be rather stale, optimizing them to be from "near you" when in fact you don't want your coding googling to be optimized at all. and when you click a link it'll count that as a succesful search hit, despite you not knowing if it's a site full of spam or not. it makes their s
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Because most don't care if someone tracks mundane things.

      " i searched for the best price on stew mix " isn't something to be overly concerned about falling into the wrong hands.

    • by Dutchmaan (442553)

      I'm going to take a stab at this.. People who use Google first and foremost like the bulk of their products for how well they work and their simplicity. Google aims to make things generally as lightweight, streamlined and efficient as possible and I think that strikes a chord with a lot of people. As for the tracking, well I think a lot of people honestly just don't care that much, and if the other primary search engine being Bing then I'm guessing people are choosing the lesser of two.. "evils" for lack of

    • by Bengie (1121981) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @03:46PM (#36707162)

      "Given that they track EVERYTHING you do, and there are other competing search engines which do not do that, why would anyone use google any more?"

      It's the tracking that makes them so good. Next you'll be complaining about how Google indexes the internet.

    • Given that they track EVERYTHING you do, and there are other competing search engines which do not do that.

      I want to know what search engine you speak of. I mean WTF we live in the age of the all seeing eye (corp and gov) watching eveything you do. And don't EVEN get me started on corporations monetizing data with or without your consent. What company can be trusted to do the right thing anymore. I use Google products because their products work...well. I don't believe I can trust a corporation to not track my every move online and sell it to the highest bidder. I'm not trying to call you out or anything. I'm ju

    • Have you tried using Bing? It's sh*t by comparison to Google.

  • by Helpadingoatemybaby (629248) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @01:54PM (#36706480)
    Not even the Senate could reach a human at Google.
    • Not even the Senate could reach a human at Google.

      Ain't that the truth. Talk all you want about Microsoft; however, at least they have a real, live, functioning telephone number.

      • by Compholio (770966)

        Ain't that the truth. Talk all you want about Microsoft; however, at least they have a real, live, functioning telephone number.

        MS: What is the nature of your call sir?
        Caller: We'd like to get a representative of your company to show up to a senate hearing.
        MS: That'll be $200 for an incident report sir, would you like me to charge your credit card?

      • Try calling about hotmail and see how far you get... My LiveID on windows isnt accepting my password anymore, but my Xbox will happily sign on with the same credentials. Hotmails solution is a ticket-in-forum weirdness that asks a bunch of questions that i really dont know that answer to because i only ever use that account because MS requires it for LIVE.
  • These so called "anti-trust" investigations seem to be more about government revenue generation than anything else.

    • These so called "anti-trust" investigations seem to be more about government revenue generation than anything else.

      Government revenue? Or campaign revenue. Obviously Google needs to donate more to key senators' retirement^Wreelection fund.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Not really, antitrust lawsuits are about keeping the market competitive. Unfortunately for much of the last decade the DoJ has been looking the other way when companies like Google have behaved in anticompetitive ways, but it is still a serious issue to anybody that wants quality service.

      Mergers rarely if ever benefit the consumer, most of the time they're more about eliminating pesky competition and sleeping in a bed stuffed with hundreds.

      I'm just astonished that it took them that long to come under scruti

    • by bonch (38532) *

      What revenue does the government generate in an antitrust investigation?

  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @03:29PM (#36707082) Homepage

    The problem, of course, is that testifying before the Senate is a lose-lose situation.

    These are public events that are really grandstanding occasions for senators to work on soundbites for their campaigns. Whoever is "testifying" is just a target for those soundbites. Play target well, and they will shoot you down - "look, we politicians are for the common man and against big business". Defend yourself effectively - show the Senators to be wrong or (more likely) totally uninformed - and suffer the dagger through the cloak instead of the public hanging.

    • Exactly. There is no reason for Schmidt, Brin, or Page to personally appear at these hearings other than to get the press to cover the event. The senators know that no one in the media will show up for a hearing with some random 'Google representative.' They also know that it would be bad for the press to show up for the hearing with some random 'Google representative' because that representative will probably be the best person suited for the occasion (a lawyer), meaning he will talk circles around them an

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        "Schmidt will probably do that anyway."
        ,br> Given Eric's tendency for gaffes it will be an interesting session. and that is what as "adult" supervision" that he is paid all that money to do.
    • Are you serious? With the lobbying power that Google has this is most likely going to be one big charade.

  • Wasn't Google one of the companies crybabying about Microsoft's "monopoly"? I find this satisfyingly hilarious. Ordinarily I'd side with Google in this matter, unless you have control over a physically limited resource you don't have a real monopoly. But in this case I'll make an exception - nail Google to the cross, Johnny Trust Busters!
  • Does anyone have an example of a single instance where Google used it's dominance in one area of the market to unfairly achieve dominance in another? Because that is the definition of Anti-trust. Simply being very good at your market, or entering a lot of markets, does not define anti-trust.

    I can't even really THINK of two markets Google is dominant in. They have their fingers in a lot of pies, sure, but the only market they are really dominant in is search/online advertising.

    And even if you consider them a

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