Eric Schmidt

It will be a very interesting day for the technology industry in Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing called, “The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?” — digging into the antitrust issues being explored by the FTC in its investigation of the search company.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman and former chief executive, will be kicking things off at 11 a.m. Pacific time. The question is whether Google is using its dominance of Internet search and search advertising to its unfair advantage in other markets, giving its own products an edge over rivals.

Microsoft itself isn’t testifying, but the Redmond company will be a central topic — not only because of the parallels to its own antitrust case in the 1990s, but also because Schmidt is expected to cite the growth of Microsoft Bing as he makes the case that Google is facing a highly competitive market.

Here’s an excerpt from the written testimony that Google supplied in advance to the Senate committee.

Among major search engines, Microsoft’s Bing has continued to gain in popularity, perhaps because it comes pre-installed as the search default on over 70 percent of new computers sold. Microsoft’s Bing is the exclusive search provider for Yahoo! and Facebook. Microsoft recently signed a deal for Bing to power English language search on the fast-rising Chinese search engine Baidu, which Baidu has acknowledged will help it become more competitive in markets outside of China. In addition to Internet Explorer, Microsoft has integrated Bing into its popular gaming console, the Xbox 360, which it is in talks with cable companies to convert into the set-top box of the future. Microsoft’s Bing launched in June 2009 and has grown so rapidly that some commentators have speculated that it could overtake Google as early as 2012.

That last line is eliciting plenty of guffaws as the advance copy of the testimony circulates among the media. And it’s certainly a stretch. However, strictly speaking, Schmidt’s statement is true. The digital copy of his testimony links to this April 11 Mashable story that does, in fact, speculate that Google could overtake Bing next year.

People testifying after Schmidt will include Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and Tom Barnett, outside counsel to Bellevue-based online travel company Expedia, which along with Microsoft and others is a member of a group called FairSearch.org that calls for scrutiny of Google’s practices.

Here’s Schmidt answering questions about the case in a web extra from ABC’s This Week this weekend.

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/AMAXRA AMAXRA

    Hey, great article, one quick fix: You say “that does, in fact, speculate that Google could overtake Bing next year” but meant Bing could overtake Google. Just FYI!

  • Anonymous

    I call BS on this.

    Google and lots of others screamed when MS used the growth rates of other products as ‘proof’ of no malfeasance.  They shouldn’t be able to get away with pulling the same trick that they puked about back then.

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    Worst defense ever! It will totally backfire.

    Bing-Yahoo only have 30% at the usa after billions being invested and partnerships that include Facebook and Twitter, everywhere else they are at 10% to 25% versus Google.

    They could have made the case if Bing-Yahoo had already reached 35% in the USA and it was at an average of 25% everywhere else. 

    In short: good luck with that defense point.

    • Guest

      Yeah, regulators aren’t stupid. They’ll easily see through that smokescreen and it’s embarrassing for Google to even attempt it.

      It does however make one wonder what MS has really accomplished here. They’ve lost $8 billion so far and it’s accruing at the rate of nearly $1 billion a quarter. Shares gains have been minimal, US only primarily, and most of it hasn’t come at Google’s expense. Their partner is now missing a CEO and likely to be sold off for parts, which leaves the possibility that MS may shortly be back to just its own organic share plus the FB and Twitter deals.

      About the only clear cut thing they have accomplished is to exist, thereby allowing Google to try and avoid being found a monopoly and regulated accordingly. Which interestingly would probably negate Google’s ability to flog Chrome and Gapps directly off their search page, or give Android away for free since in their own words “Android isn’t a new product to monetize; it’s a new medium to drive monetization
      on existing products.”

    • Guest

      Yeah, regulators aren’t stupid. They’ll easily see through that smokescreen and it’s embarrassing for Google to even attempt it.

      It does however make one wonder what MS has really accomplished here. They’ve lost $8 billion so far and it’s accruing at the rate of nearly $1 billion a quarter. Shares gains have been minimal, US only primarily, and most of it hasn’t come at Google’s expense. Their partner is now missing a CEO and likely to be sold off for parts, which leaves the possibility that MS may shortly be back to just its own organic share plus the FB and Twitter deals.

      About the only clear cut thing they have accomplished is to exist, thereby allowing Google to try and avoid being found a monopoly and regulated accordingly. Which interestingly would probably negate Google’s ability to flog Chrome and Gapps directly off their search page, or give Android away for free since in their own words “Android isn’t a new product to monetize; it’s a new medium to drive monetization
      on existing products.”

  • Franksh

    “Among major search engines, Microsoft’s Bing has continued to gain in popularity, perhaps because it comes pre-installed as the search default on over 70 percent of new computers sold.”

    But but I thought we had entered the post PC world where the PC was no longer the center of the computing universe? Google is becoming a joke. They began with such lofty ideals, but they’ve turned into something scummier and even more hypocritical than even MS at its 90’s worst.  

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