Google's Schmidt on antitrust: What will he say?

Google's Schmidt on antitrust: What will he say?

Summary: Google is likely to argue that the search market is much broader than comScore metrics illustrate. How so? Industry specific search players are competitors to Google too.


Google Chairman Eric Schmidt will testify before a U.S. Senate hearing on antitrust and when he appears it'll be a nice opportunity to hone the company's messaging amid a glaring regulator spotlight.

After some wrangling---detailed by CNET News' Declan McCullagh---Google agreed to let Schmidt appear at an upcoming Senate hearing. Google confirmed last month that the Federal Trade Commission is planning a preliminary antitrust inquiry into Google's business practices.

Details of the FTC probe are still a bit sketchy, but rest assured that Google search dominance will be the key focus. Schmidt could use the Senate hearing to float a few trial balloons ahead of the FTC investigation.

Perhaps the biggest trial balloon from Google will be the state of search, how easy it is for users to switch and the competition from Microsoft's Bing as well as many other specialty rivals. Google is likely to argue that the search market is much broader than comScore metrics illustrate. Where most folks see search as a Google vs. Bing battle, Schmidt may note that the market is broader.

How so?

  • Amazon and eBay dominate product search.
  • Zillow is a go-to search hub for real estate.
  • WebMD is the search and information leader for health.
  • Twitter and Facebook also have strong social search components. Google is likely to note that it hasn't done so well in social networking even though its Google+ effort, which is tightly tethered to Android, has been well received so far.
  • Netflix serves as a search leader for movies.
  • Kayak is a travel search leader.
  • And Open Table is the point guard for restaurants.

The argument: If you include industry specific search players, the market looks much more competitive. We'll overlook that Google happens to serve up many of the links into these industry specific search players, but the argument is worth pondering.

In the end, Google is likely to argue that search is a dynamic market and point to Bing's work with Facebook and social search. Schmidt's potential bottom line: Leadership today doesn't equate to wins tomorrow and by time any antitrust litigation is settled the search business will have already changed. It's going to be interesting to watch Google's argument to fend off regulators take shape.

Topics: Security, Enterprise Software, Google, Social Enterprise

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  • Message has been deleted.

    Peter Cao
  • Message has been deleted.

    Peter Cao
  • M$ is instigating against google

    and the real culprit should be called and punished.
    Why isn't M$ investigated?
    Linux Geek
    • RE: Google's Schmidt on antitrust: What will he say?

      @Linux Geek Do you have ANYTHING new to say that you haven't repeated ad nauseum in post after post after post? And it's so original of you to use those cute little $ signs in place the actual letter 's' whenever you refer to that company you so blindly hate... But not to worry, your beloved linux may someday actually represent a threat to Apple Mac OSX, with the word "may" being stressed. Please man, get a clue.
    • RE: Google's Schmidt on antitrust: What will he say?

      @Linux Geek Care to try to back up your claims with anything that even remotely resembles facts or evidence?
  • RE: Google's Schmidt on antitrust: What will he say?

    Welcome to hell Eric
  • RE: Google's Schmidt on antitrust: What will he say?

    Why do they even care? Build a better mouse trap... a path is beaten to your door... then the government shows up... and you're beaten for being successful. Home many other companies did Google illegally destroy to become the leader? Who died?

    Free and open markets work - until a competitor makes a campaign contribution.
    • Campaign contribution?

      A share of a market cannot be constructed via a campaign contribution. The user base would all have to get "campaign contributions" in order to buy a user base for a service or product. Who has a few billion dollars to spare to purchase and/or build a client base? A client base can only be built via a good product or or a worthwhile service. <br><br>The free-market system doesn't build customer loyalty via bribes to politicians. A business still has to win over the customers, no matter how big their slush fund is.