A Senate panel put a top Google executive on the defensive over the company’s powerful position in online advertising as some lawmakers look hopefully toward an expected antitrust case against the tech giant by the Trump administration.
Donald Harrison, Google’s president for global partnerships and corporate development, insisted at a hearing by the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee that Google’s ad business faces ample competition, has benefited consumers, and has kept prices low for advertisers and publishers such as local newspapers.
The Justice Department has pursued a sweeping antitrust investigation of big tech companies, looking at whether the online platforms of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple have hurt competition, stifled innovation or otherwise harmed consumers. The department is reportedly readying a major case accusing Google of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and boost its profits.
That expected action “could be the beginning of a reckoning for our antitrust laws,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the panel’s senior Democrat. She said she hoped “there’s a start” at the Justice Department and that also “things are going on” at the Federal Trade Commission, which has carried on a separate antitrust investigation of the Big Tech companies.
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