U.S. Senate

The antitrust case against Google

September 19, 2011: 7:38 AM ET

The Senate hearings scheduled for Wednesday will only scratch the surface

Source: Google

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.

I quote:


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