We applaud Senator Kohl and Senator Lee for standing up for consumers by raising additional concerns about Google’s dominant market power and questionable business practices, particularly given the inconsistencies in the testimony of Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. While Schmidt seemed to agree with the Senators that Google did have dominant market power during sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year, he later retracted this in his written testimony to the Committee following the Hearing. In light of his wavering and other attempts to obfuscate the truth about the business practices of the Internet search giant, the Committee Chairman and Ranking Member are justified in asking the FTC to use its existing authority to investigate Google’s market power and to scrutinize their actions that appear designed to simply hobble their small but innovative competitors.
While new government regulations should be approached with caution and prudence, it is imperative for the future of Internet to enforce existing rules to protect consumers and promote a competitive technology and search marketplace. Ensuring that Google takes steps to protect the privacy of its users and does not hinder competition or harm small businesses and consumers is certainly within the bounds of FTC oversight.
The letter to the FCC from Senators Kohl and Lee is available here — Google FTC Letter 12 19 11