Google Antitrust Review By Senate Commended By FairSearch Coalition

FairSearch: Senators Have Demonstrated "Great Vision and Leadership"

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Last week, Senator Mike Lee called for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee to conduct a hearing, with Google identified as the target.

In a statement, Lee said, “Google’s position as the preeminent search engine may be abused so as to disadvantage competing vertical search sites to the detriment of advertisers and internet users.”

“Google’s powerful position as an Internet gatekeeper reduces the company’s incentive to compete with other search engines by providing enhanced privacy protection for consumers,” he also said.

Today, we received a statement from the FairSearch Coalition, an organization formed solely to push for the blocking of Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA Software. For more background on that, see our past coverage here.

The statement says:

FairSearch.org is working to promote competition, transparency and innovation in online search. We believe that Internet users should pick winners and losers – not search engines. Our members have been passionate advocates for competition in the travel search vertical, a dynamic space that has benefited consumers by, among other things, putting pressure on airlines to keep prices low.

Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Ranking Member Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have demonstrated great vision and leadership in the past week by calling for Congressional scrutiny of Google’s dominance of online search and allegations that it has abused that dominance to advantage its own services and harm competition.

Congress is right to investigate these issues and examine the threats that Google’s unchecked dominance poses to the Internet ecosystem.  As Sen. Lee stated in his letter to Chairman Kohl, “Enforcement of the antitrust laws is especially important for sectors in which the United States has been a leader, such as the e-commerce and online advertising industries.”  The proper enforcement of antitrust laws is a critical linchpin in the Internet’s continued role as a driving force behind the U.S. economy.

Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA Software, as Sen. Lee noted, “could potentially provide Google with the ability to control the travel search vertical market.”  We believe the American consumer deserves a better deal than that.  FairSearch is encouraged that Senators Kohl, Lee and Blumenthal agree that Google’s attempts to expand its dominance through acquisitions bear close examination.

Examination is not an indictment, and of course there are two sides to every story. More on Google’s argument here.

It’s worth noting that Google’s main competitor, Microsoft (no stranger itself to antitrust matters), is part of the FairSearch coalition.

Last month, Bing introduced its own flight price suggestions right from the search box. While Google is often accused of favoring its own content over competitors, it’s interesting that Bing is going so far as to suggest its own content before users even get to the search results themselves.

Earlier this month, Bing announced a partnership with travel site KAYAK.

Google Antitrust Review By Senate Commended By FairSearch Coalition
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  • South Korean

    G is run by immature people with absolutely no business or common sense. Sort of like they are successful because they broke the inertia back in the day when computers and internet had been barely adopted and the wind is on their back now. Very smart people to their disadvantage. I have no doubt G will be broken into so many parts you’ll need a microscope to find them.

    We have a CEO talking about getting close to a “creepy line”, “kids should change their name to escape their past” (paraphrasing) and other out of this world irresponsible statements… Then we have the Wifi deal. Then the G Places, Maps, Merchant, etc. at the top of search result being anti-competitive and running businesses to the ground. Now we have one of their guys admitting there is a white-list, manual adjustments or whatever after denying it multiple times for years, even in court apparently. That’s one of the heaviest evidences the government has against them. I mean, G will be an easy case for the antitrust authorities. Evidence is blatant, in your face. Wonder when the lawsuits from businesses affected by Panda will commence. It seems if you don’t get mentioned in a big “Panda Hurt Me” article on the big news sites, your rankings won’t be restored.

  • Bing It.

    “While Google is often accused of favoring its own content over competitors, it’s interesting that Bing is going so far as to suggest its own content before users even get to the search results themselves.”

    Ahh God damn it Chris. You just had to insert that paragraph in there ain’tcha… Chris, you know better than that. I know you are a die-hard Google fan but… You know Bing’s search share better than Billy at Microsoft himself. Bing is not the place to go, Google is. That answers your “interesting” concern. :)

    Bing, Yahoo and other little guys could well fall on the “competitors” (victims) complaining basket, so it doesn’t matter whether they back Fairsearch, Foundem (unrelated) or not to counter Google. You feel me?

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum


  • http://www.insurancenavy.com Ed

    I do not see Google in the process of becoming a monopolist over the cyberworld search, although it is important that no one else should be in that position. Monopolizing the web search industry will have devastating effect on the internet. While I have the feeling that this is not happening, it is always good idea for people to make sure that it is not happening.

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