President’s Antitrust Chief Nomination Known to Criticize Google

    February 18, 2009
    Chris Crum

Christine VarneyPresident Obama’s nomination for Antitrust Chief, Christine A. Varney, has a history of criticizing Google on the topic of antitrust. Current concern appears to be focused on Google’s efforts in the cloud computing world.

You will probably recall that Obama was endorsed by important Googlers Eric Schmidt and Vint Cerf on the campaign trail, but the President’s selection of Varney indicates that he’s not playing favorites. "President Obama’s pick of Varney seems to show that the administration will not favor any company, and will take antitrust claims seriously," says VentureBeat’s MG Siegler.

Google being linked to that word (antitrust) is nothing new. I’m sure most of you will remember that little matter of Google and Yahoo making a search advertising deal last year that never made it through.

Even before that, Varney was linking Google to antitrust. Bloomberg quotes her from a panel discussion way back in June as saying the U.S. economy will "continually see a problem — potentially with Google" because it already "has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising."

Don’t think of Varney as anti-Google though. She has had plenty of good to say about the company, calling it a "spectacular" innovator and acknowledging that it had gotten to its monopoly in a lawful way. So far, Google’s pretty much managed to keep itself out of the fire. They did so by backing down on the Yahoo deal, so it will be interesting to see what the year brings for the company on the cloud front.

Update: Speaking of Google and Antitrust, NYT is reporting: "A small Web site operator filed an antitrust suit against Google on Tuesday, accusing it of unfairly manipulating its advertising system to harm a potential competitor."