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Google gives in: Schmidt to face US antitrust grilling

Half relents, sends one of top two

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Google has agreed to have Eric Schmidt answer US politicians' concerns that the company is running an anticompetitive search and ads monopoly.

Schmidt will testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights in the Fall.

He will appear after the committee's Senators Herb Kohl and Mike Lee had sent a strongly worded letter to Google in June asking that the company's two senior execs appear before their committee.

A Google spokesperson told The Reg on Friday: "Senators Kohl and Lee expressed a strong desire to have our executive chairman appear in front of the subcommittee and we're happy to accommodate them. We appreciate their willingness to work with us to make it happen this Fall."

Responding to the news that Schmidt will appear, committee ranking member Senator Lee of Utah is reported to have said that he looked forward to "discussing a number of important issues relating to Google and Internet search competition."

The committee said in March that it would examine allegations from web companies that they are being treated unfairly by Google's search rankings, and would look at the impact of acquisitions by the search giant.

Google had resisted a request to send either Schmidt or CEO Larry Page. Instead, the search giant offered its senior vice president for corporate development and legal affairs Dave Drummond.

The company's heel dragging brought the possibility of subpoena, which would have compelled Schmidt or Page to give evidence. Failure to appear before the committee would have meant they'd broken US law and were liable for arrest. ®

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