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Congress / TECHNOLOGY

Panel Pushing Google To Send Page Or Schmidt To Hearing

Schmidt: Newest D.C. player.(Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

June 22, 2011

The Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee is pressuring Google to send either CEO Larry Page or Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to testify at an upcoming hearing on competitive issues related to Internet search, but Google appears to be resisting.

"Google is the preeminent provider of Internet search, and a hearing on this important topic would be incomplete without the direct perspective and views from one of Google's top executives, each of whom has played a prominent role at the company throughout the last decade," Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and ranking member Mike Lee, R-Utah, said in a June 10 letter to Page and Schmidt. Schmidt stepped down as CEO in April.

The senators noted that while Google has offered to send Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, they want either Page or Schmidt to testify at the hearing because it will explore "fundamental questions of business operations" and not just legal issues. The panel is aiming to hold the hearing before the August recess.

The panel also warned that it would prefer to work out its request by agreement "rather than needing to resort to more formal procedures." A subcommittee spokeswoman wouldn't say what those more formal procedures would include, but the panel does have subpoena power. The spokeswoman would only say that the two sides are continuing to talk.

"We're in talks with the subcommittee, and we'll send them the executive who can best answer their questions," a Google spokeswoman said.

Frequent Google critic Consumer Watchdog called on the subcommittee Wednesday to use its subpoena power to require Page or Schmidt to appear at the hearing.

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