Google CEO Cites Long List of Search Rivals in Antitrust Defense
(Bloomberg) -- Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai highlighted a long list of digital rivals in his opening statement ahead of Wednesday’s hearing with the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on antitrust.
“When searching for products online, you may be visiting Amazon, EBay, Walmart, or any one of a number of e-commerce providers, where most online shopping queries happen,” Pichai said, according to a copy of his prepared testimony. “Similarly, in areas like travel and real estate, Google faces strong competition for search queries from many businesses that are experts in these areas.”
Alphabet Inc.’s Google is about to be sued by the Justice Department in what will be the biggest U.S. antitrust case since the government went after Microsoft Corp. in the late 1990s. European regulators have already fined the company billions of euros for breaking antitrust rules in the region.
Google controls about 85% of the online search market in the U.S., and dominates the business even more in Europe. However, Pichai said in his testimony that the company is beset on all sides by rivals.
“People have more ways to search for information than ever before -- and increasingly this is happening outside the context of only a search engine,” Pichai said. “You can ask Alexa a question from your kitchen; read your news on Twitter; ask friends for information via WhatsApp; and get recommendations on Snapchat or Pinterest.”
Competition in digital advertising, from Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc.’s Instagram, Pinterest Inc., Comcast Corp. and others, has helped lower online ad costs by 40% over the last decade, and these savings have been passed down to consumers through lower prices, the CEO added.
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