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.
"Does this data indicate anything about your location or doesn't it?"
At the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on privacy, technology and law Tuesday, Sen. Al Franken put his finger on the most glaring contradiction in the controversy that has come to be known as Locationgate:
On the one hand we have Steve Jobs telling All Things Digital's Ina Fried that the location data Apple (AAPL) gathers from iPhone users "are not telling MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 10, 2011 3:09 PM ET
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