The Senate hearings scheduled for Wednesday will only scratch the surface
Apple (AAPL) is conspicuously absent from the witness list for Wednesday's hearing on "The Power of Google" before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Rights. Yelp! and Nextag will be represented, but Google (GOOG) has stepped on a lot more toes than theirs to maintain and extend its dominance of the Internet's sustaining source of revenue -- advertising dollars.
As Steve Lohr and Clair Miller's story Scrutinizing Google's Reign in Monday's New York Times points out, Google's share of search ad revenue is 75% in the U.S. and higher in Europe -- well within the definition of a monopoly.
Having the dominant share of a market -- or even a monopoly -- is not illegal. What is illegal is using that power to enter, dominate and destroy other businesses.
As Lohr and Miller make clear, there is a growing chorus of Google critics -- some of them familiar from the Microsoft (MSFT) antirust hearings -- who complain that the Google boys are doing just that. But few have banged this particular drum more loudly than Brian S Hall, writing in his Smartphone Wars blog.
Last month, after Google's chief legal officer "whined like a bitch" because Apple and Microsoft had acquired patents for alleged "anticompetitive purposes, Hall fired off a blistering rant that enumerated 10 ways he believes Google had abused its monopoly power.
Hall's list would be a good place for the senators to start their questioning when Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt testifies on Wednesday.
How can this company, asks Brian S Hall, complain about anti-competitive behavior?
The open letter by Google's (GOOG) chief legal counsel attacking Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) and calling for government intervention (see here) has unleashed a flood of outraged responses, but none quite so full throated as the one posted by Brian S Hall on his Smartphone Wars blog.
The nut paragraph:
"If you have a monopoly business and generate monopoly profits and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 5, 2011 7:07 AM ET
Apple's CEO will have to answer questions in a six-year-old iTunes monopoly suit
In Nov. 2010, plaintiffs in the long-running "Apple iPod iTunes Anti-Trust Litigation" class-action lawsuit asked the presiding judge for permission to depose Steve Jobs. Apple's (AAPL) lawyers promptly filed for a protective order preventing the deposition.
What happened next is a little hard to follow, since so many of the relevant court documents are either redacted or sealed. But MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 22, 2011 7:30 AM ET
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