Back in September former Google CEO and now Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt testified before Congress. When he gave this testimony he came very close to admitting that Google is a monopoly.
When a member of the antitrust panel asked Schmidt:
“…you do recognize that in the words that are used and antitrust kind of oversight, your market share constitutes monopoly, dominant — special power dominant for a monopoly firm. You recognize you’re in that area?”
See Schmidt’s reply and more after the break
Schmidt replied saying:
“I would agree, sir, that we’re in that area….I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding of monopoly findings is this is a judicial process.”
That story was revised in written testimony Schmidt supplied to a US Senate sub committee on Friday. Schmidt wrote to the committee:
“As I acknowledged during the Committee hearing, Google is “in the area” of 65% of queries in the U.S., if you look only at Google’s general search competitors, such as Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo!. In fact, we find that the monthly general search query figures released by comScore and Hitwise don’t reflect the reality of how many sites Google competes with in search.”
While this isn’t a complete 180 from his first testimony it certainly suggests that Google’s search business doesn’t have the stranglehold on the internet that the government, and others perceive. SAI suggests that this may be because of vertical searches such as those on travel websites, realty websites and other “vertical markets”.
Lobbying groups and regulators are concerned that it would be easy for Google to create their own verticals to compete with the likes of realtor.com or kayak.com. To that end, last month government regulators finally approved the purchase of travel software company ITA which will help Google users find flights by typing origination and destination into the normal Google search box.
Google has proven time and time again when they want something they get it or they build something just like it. Such is the case with Google Offers a direct competitor to Groupon which Google failed to purchase earlier this year.