As earlier reported, the FTC is said to be planning a broad antitrust investigation into Google’s business practices, and according to the Wall Street Journal, they’re getting ready to serve Google with subpoenas, as well as requests for information from other companies about their dealings with Google.
The FairSearch Coalition, the organization made up mainly of travel sites (including Microsoft’s Bing), gave WebProNews the following statement:
“The members of FairSearch.org are encouraged by reports that the FTC is preparing to launch a broad antitrust investigation into Google’s business practices. Google engages in anti-competitive behavior across many vertical categories of search that harms consumers by restricting the ability of other companies to compete to put the best products and services in front of Internet users, who should be allowed to pick winners and losers online, not Google. The result of Google’s anti-competitive practices is to curb innovation and investment in new technologies by other companies. These anti-competitive practices include scraping and using other companies’ content without their permission, deceptive display of search results, manipulation of search results to favor Google’s products, and the acquisition of competitive threats to Google’s dominance. Google’s practices are deserving of full-scale investigations by U.S. antitrust authorities, and are already the subject of reviews by the European Commission, and the Texas Attorney General.”
Bloomberg put out a report indicating that Google may get subpoenaed by the Senat Antitrust Subcommittee, as it seeks testimony from either CEO Larry Page or former CEO and current Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt about the company’s business operations. According to the report, which quotes letters and emails from the subcommittee and Google, Google only wants to provide its Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, who it has deemed “the executive who can best answer their questions”. Drummond also serves as SVP of corporate development at Google.
They don’t want Drummond, however. They want Page or Schmidt. It’s interesting that the company is allegedly resisting offering one of these two.
From Drummond’s official bio:
David Drummond joined Google in 2002, initially as vice president of corporate development. Today as senior vice president and chief legal officer, he leads Google’s global teams for legal, government relations, corporate development (M&A and investment projects) and new business development (strategic partnerships and licensing opportunities).
David was first introduced to Google in 1998 as a partner in the corporate transactions group at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, one of the nation’s leading law firms representing technology businesses. He served as Google’s first outside counsel and worked with Larry Page and Sergey Brin to incorporate the company and secure its initial rounds of financing. During his tenure at Wilson Sonsini, David worked with a wide variety of technology companies to help them manage complex transactions such as mergers, acquisitions and initial public offerings.
Either way, it would appear that the company is really in for some major scrutiny, between this and the FTC ordeal, which Bloomberg has said may take years to complete. The company is also undergoing regulatory scrutiny from the Department of Justice with relation to its proposed acquisition of AdMeld, an ad optimization company.
The DoJ had no problem approving the company’s acquisition of ITA Software, however, which was the catalyst to the formation of the FairSearch Coalition to begin with, though the organization continues to pursue continued obstacles for Google’s search dominance, and the DoJ didn’t let that ITA deal go by without some stipulations.