Google’s Guide to the Senate Antitrust Hearing

From: eWeek

By: Clint Boulton

To prepare consumers for tomorrow’s Senate antitrust hearing against Google, the company has created a Web page countering antitrust allegations against it.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Sept. 20 published a guide to the Senate’s hearing on whether the company’s search engine business harms competition and consumer choice.

The Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee will convene Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. local time in Washington D.C., where Google Executive Chairman (and former CEO) Eric Schmidt is expected to testify under oath about whether the company favors its own products in its search results to shut out rivals.

Experts: Google Antitrust Probe to Shed Light on Search

From: PC World

By Grant Gross

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust investigation into Google’s search engine could shine some light on the secret inner workings of the company’s search ranking decisions and the relationship between advertising and free search results, some Google critics said Friday.

With other Google services being integrated with its search engine and Google offering both paid search and free search results, there’s an “enormous possibility for abuse,” said Eric Clemons, an operations and information management professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Watchdog Seeks Antitrust Rule For Web-Based Cos.

From: Law360

By Erin Fuchs

Law360, New York (September 6, 2011) — The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness asked federal regulators Tuesday to enact a regulation to ensure that Web-based companies such as Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. do not engage in unfair competition or deceive consumers.

The Washington-based advocacy group asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to establish a rule that would define unfair or deceptive trade practices, in a move the CRE said would make U.S. businesses more competitive worldwide.

The petition comes after news reports that the FTC is already investigating Google and Twitter, and after another watchdog asked the agency to probe Facebook, CRE pointed out.

CRE Petitions FTC to Set Rules for Google, Facebook and Twitter


Rules Needed to Define Unfair Practices

Google, Facebook and Twitter have much in common.  All three web-based service firms have pioneered or reinvented their primary area of expertise.  All three companies are American businesses that have changed how the world uses the internet.  All three companies act as platforms bringing together different sets of users. Of particular note, all three companies provide their primary services to consumers for free.

Also of note, all three firms are reported to be either under FTC investigation (Google and Twitter) or the subject of a petition to the FTC to be investigated (Facebook).