It seems like every other month, Google is announcing a new product in a market that it hasn't previously attempted to enter and the company's definitely not in the habit of doing things by half-measures. The words 'Google' and 'monopoly' have appeared alongside each other a number of times, whether it's over book deals or the company's massive slice of the search market, and and it seems Google bigwig Eric Schmidt is under no illusions as to how powerful his company is.
According to Business Insider, the executive chairman of Google came close to admitting that Google was a monopoly while testifying before U.S. senate antitrust committee earlier this week.
"But you do recognize that in the words that are used and antitrust kind of oversight, your market share constitutes monopoly, dominant -- special power dominant for a monopoly firm. You recognize you're in that area?" Schmidt was asked by Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl.
Speaking to the committee, Schmidt's opening speech made reference to a company whose name was 'synonymous with innovation' and whose software was on nearly every computer. Schmidt said that 20 years ago, this company setting the world on fire "but [it] lost sight of what mattered" and then Washington stepped in.
"I was an executive at Sun and later Novell at the time," he said. "And in the years since, many of us in Silicon Valley have absorbed the lessons of that era. So I’m here today carrying a long history in the technology business and a very short message about our company: We get it. By that I mean that we get the lessons of our corporate predecessors."
Google has faced several antitrust accusations over the years in a range of different markets. In 2010, the European Union launched an official probe following accusations that Google was affording its own services preferential treatment in search results. In 2009, the Department of Justice launched a probe into Google's settlement with the Author's Guild of America. That same year, the European Union opened up its own investigation into the Author's Guild deal. Ahile Schmidt's comments won't do anything to dissuade those that already think Google is too powerful, BI Matt Rosoff points out being a monopoly isn't illegal -- you're just subjected to certain antitrust laws that others are not.
For more on Schmidt's U.S. Senate appearance, hit up Business Insider.