“As the federal government was wrapping up its antitrust investigation of Google Inc., company executives had a flurry of meetings with top officials at the White House and Federal Trade Commission, the agency running the probe,” Brody Mullins reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Google co-founder Larry Page met with FTC officials to discuss settlement talks, according to visitor logs and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt met with Pete Rouse, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, in the White House… Since Mr. Obama took office, employees of the Mountain View, Calif., company have visited the White House for meetings with senior officials about 230 times, or an average of roughly once a week, according to the visitor logs reviewed by the Journal.”
‘Google’s knack for getting in the room with important government officials is gaining new relevance as scrutiny grows over how the company avoided being hit by the FTC with a potentially damaging antitrust lawsuit. Last week, the Journal reported that the FTC’s competition staff concluded that Google used anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users and rivals,” Mullins reports. “The staff recommended a lawsuit, which would have triggered one of the highest-profile antitrust cases since the Justice Department sued Microsoft Corp. in the 1990s. FTC commissioners voted unanimously to end the probe.”
“On Nov. 6, 2012, the night of Mr. Obama’s re-election, Mr. Schmidt was personally overseeing a voter-turnout software system for Mr. Obama,” Mullins reports. “By the end of the month, the FTC had decided not to file an antitrust lawsuit against the company, according to the agency’s internal emails… During Mr. Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, Google employees were the second-largest source of campaign donations to his campaign by any single U.S. company, trailing only Microsoft.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Who’s surprised?
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on our hands. — Douglas Adams
Microsoft must still be kicking themselves for not greasing Clinton administration palms (enough?) to avoid their monopoly abuse lawsuit.
U.S. FTC report details how Google skewed search results in its own favor – March 20, 2015
Google’s antitrust settlement with U.S. FTC reshapes patent disputes – January 5, 2013
The FTC’s missed opportunity on Google – January 4, 2013
Obama to reward Google’s Schmidt with Cabinet post? – December 5, 2012
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011