Google co-founders face FTC antitrust grilling
Page and Brin have lawyered-up, claim sources
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will be quizzed by antitrust investigators at the US Federal Trade Commission, according to well-placed moles.
The web giant's CEO Page and special projects honcho Brin will be questioned in relation to the FTC's inquiry of the company's business practices, anonymous sources told Bloomberg. Google chairman Eric Schmidt gave his testimony behind closed doors to the regulator last week.
The news wire added that Page and Brin have hired a team of lawyers for their depositions with the FTC: the moneybags nerd duo have retained Williams & Connolly LLP - a Washington-based law firm that previously represented former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and current US President Barack Obama in non-litigation "transactional matters".
The legal outfit was also successful in representing Clinton in the first impeachment trial of a sitting president in over a century relating to the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal.
In April this year, the FTC stepped up its antitrust scrutiny of Google by hiring well-known outside litigator and one-time Justice Department prosecutor Beth Wilkinson in a move that indicated the company's execs might end up in court.
It's understood, however, that Wilkinson won't be taking Page or Brin's testimonies, which could potentially be used as pre-trial evidence.
The FTC formally began probing allegations that Google favours its own search products over those of its rivals in June 2011. A similar but separate investigation into the world's largest web advertising broker's business practices has been underway in Brussels since November 2010.
In Europe, time is running out for Google. It has until early July to start playing ball with the EU's competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia, who has expressed concerns about Google's "abuses of dominance" and has urged the search giant to offer up "remedies" to prevent "lengthy proceedings" being taken by the EC.
"I expect to receive from Google concrete signs of their willingness to explore this route," Almunia said on Friday.
Schmidt, when questioned by your correspondent last month, claimed his company was operating lawfully.
He said at the time: "We disagree that we are in violation. Until they are precise about what areas of the law we have violated, it will be very difficult for me to speculate." ®
The reason they are ahead of their rivals is because THEY ARE BETTER
There isn't an anti-trust here, they aren't forcing you to buy a product, they aren't forcing you to use their search engine, and they aren't forcing you to do anything else with them. Everything they do is down to yoru choice.
Hey I know, while you're taking google to court for not pushing the products of their competitors, why don't you take apple stores to court for not selling the sony walkman or windows PCs.
Oh heres a good idea. Why not take Barack Obama to court for not following through with what the republicans promised.
Because doing either of those would make about as much sense.
Google is just a better mousetrap but FTC is wasting their time.
Google have a better search mousetrap; that's all they have done to warrant this inquisition (in most cases). In SOME cases other search agents provide better results. How many "search agents" do we need? Google, Bing, Ask, Yahoo, Baidu, blah, blah ,blah....ad infinitum. I can't speak for their ads because I don't look at them. That's right, ad's on ANY SEARCH ENGINE might as well be invisible to me.
Why does the FTC waste it's time on Google when the wired and wireless telcos are out of control?
Verizon will not live up to it's state and federal contractual obligation to repair it's existing telephone wires but they are not in front of an FTC Witchunt committee. To me that's more important than search agents.