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Technology / TECHNOLOGY

Google Chairman Agrees To Testify At Senate Antitrust Hearing

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

photo of Josh Smith
July 8, 2011

Almost one month and one pending federal antitrust probe later, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has agreed to appear before the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee.

Antitrust Chairman Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and ranking member Mike Lee, R-Utah, sent a letter to Google on June 10, asking the company again to send either CEO Larry Page or Schmidt to testify at an upcoming hearing on competitiveness issues.

The company had initially resisted, instead offering Chief Legal Officer David Drummond. Without specifically threatening to use its subpoena power, the subcommittee warned that it would prefer to work out its request by agreement "rather than needing to resort to more formal procedures."

 

And that’s what seems to have happened. Lee issued a statement on Friday saying he is pleased that Schmidt will testify, and a Google spokesman confirmed the decision in an e-mail.

"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,” the Google statement read. “We appreciate their willingness to work with us to make it happen this fall."

The move comes after the Federal Trade Commission launched a formal antitrust investigation of Google on June 23.

Lee said the hearing, scheduled for September, will focus on “a number of important issues relating to Google and Internet search competition,” among other issues.

In a blog post after the FTC investigation began, Google defended its business practices.

“Using Google is a choice—and there are lots of other choices available to you for getting information: other general-interest search engines, specialized search engines, direct navigation to websites, mobile applications, social networks, and more,” according to a statement.

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