Make no mistake about it: The trustbusters are pretty serious about dropping the hammer on Silicon Valley in order to break up the region’s web of cozy relationships, as last month’s Wired story make clear. They are looking especially hard at Google, which has been increasingly widening both its scope and its ambitions.
Bloomberg reports today that the rumors of Google and Apple colluding when it comes to hiring employees are getting a closer look in Washington. Yesterday, Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple’s board of directors (or was shown the door by Steve Jobs, depending on your take) and now there’s talk that Genentech Chairman Art Levinson, who sits on the boards of Google and Apple, will have to make a similar choice.
“These problems would not have emerged a couple of years ago because Google was so unidimensional,” said Joe Angland, an antitrust lawyer at White & Case LLP in New York. “Google was great at what it did, but it didn’t do that many things.” (via Bloomberg.)
As Wired’s Fred Vogelstein recounts, Christine Varney, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said at at a National Press Club event back in June of 2008 that: “For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem. I think we are going to continually see a problem, potentially, with Google.”
Perhaps Google saw it coming. And that is why the company has been bulking up its presence in Washington D.C. by hiring outside lobbying firms. Google even has two offices in the Beltway. And all that costs a lot of money. Almost $1.83 million was spent by the company on lobbyists alone during the first two quarters of 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
9 thoughts on “Antitrust Dept: Cracking Down on Google, Silicon Valley”
“Almost $1.83 million was spent by the company on lobbyists alone during the first two quarters of 2009”
That doesn’t really seem like a lot of money at all. Oracle spent $2,720,000.
Just look at the spending. It is going up and up. I mean, use the chart as an indicator. Oracle has been fighting the anti-trust battle for a while. Google is about to get into those troubles.
Its inevitable for both , GOOGLE has to grow , antitrust has to take a closer look.
Google did the hardwork and they deserve all the money they are making.
After all no one is being forced to use google. They are one click away from falling.
“After all no one is being forced to use google”
Hence the reason for the hard look @ google now before we are forced/dependent (not hard to imagine). And hardly one click away from falling imo…
Actually, pretty much every person who browses the Web is “forced to use Google.” See
for information on Google’s tracking practices, which truly deserve government investigation.
The public also needs to be aware of which so-called “public interest” firms in DC are actually “astroturfing” for Google — and have Google’s interests in mind, not the public.The New America Foundation (a wholly owned subsidiary of Google, with Google’s CEO as its chairman). Media Access Project, Public Knowledge, and Free Press — three DC lobbying groups that receive lots of Googlebucks. And a bunch of academics, such as Lawrence Lessig, whose operations have been funded by Google. All claim to be supporting the “grass roots,” but all are in fact funded by what could justifiably be called the most evil corporation on the Net. (Google is now the most pervasive invader of Internet privacy and the #1 purveyor of spyware tracking cookies. It even reads its customers’ e-mail and uses the information to compile dossiers on them and then target advertising at them.) Google has even hired the insidious astroturf lobbying firm The DCI Group to do its bidding in DC.
Google has also been pushing for “network neutrality” regulation which would be good for it (and perpetuate its search advertising monopoly) but bad for consumers. It would limit consumers’ choice of ISPs, give them lower quality of service, and prevent them from being able to obtain innovative new services. Google is said to have vetted the text of Rep. Markey’s recently introduced “network neutrality” bill, which is even more extreme than the bills which Markey has introduced in previous years and even more damaging. The public must oppose this corporate-written regulatory bill and instead favor a free and open Internet.