'I'm a lover, not a fighter' says Google to US government probes

Google doesn't believe it needs to change its ways despite three separate US government inquiries into whether some of the internet search leader's actions are thwarting competition.

"There is no reason to be upset or surprised with the scrutiny," Dana Wagner, Google's competition counsel, told reporters on Wednesday. "It comes with the territory."



With technology playing an increasingly important role in society and Google steering most of the internet's traffic, Wagner said it's understandable why the Obama administration is taking a close look at the Mountain View, California-based company.



"They wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't taking a look at all the industries people are telling them to take a look at," said Wagner, who worked at the US Justice Department for seven years before joining Google in 2007.



Wagner suggested the push to investigate Google is being propelled by "enemies" that the company has made as its search engine and other free or low-cost products siphon money away from other businesses in media and technology. Google reaped a $4.2 billion profit on revenue of nearly $22 billion last year.

Without getting into specifics of the various inquiries under way now, Wagner predicted Google would be able to amicably resolve any differences with the government.



"I am a lover, not a fighter," Wagner said. "One of the reasons we have haven't had a huge fight (with the government) is because we generally can find common ground."



Google's biggest clash with the US government so far occurred last year when the Justice Department threatened a lawsuit to block the company's proposed advertising partnership with rival Yahoo, which runs the Web's second most popular search engine.



Although Google still believes the government exaggerated the alliance's potential effect on the internet ad market, the company ultimately abandoned the Yahoo partnership.



Google also has shortened the amount of time it retains information about its users to satisfy the privacy concerns of European regulators.



Since President Barack Obama took office in January, antitrust regulators have targeted Google in three different areas.



The Justice Department is poring over a settlement of a class-action lawsuit that critics contend could give Google too much control over the electronic copies of millions of copyright-protected books that are no longer in print. Google believes the settlement would improve access to books that are mostly gathering dust at libraries across the country.



In a sign that the book inquiry is intensifying, investigators have issued formal demands for more details about the settlement. Google confirmed on Wednesday it is among the settlement participants that received the civil investigative demands, or CIDs. A federal judge is scheduled to review the settlement in October.

Justice also is looking into whether Google and other technology companies, including Yahoo and biotechnology pioneer Genentech, which is now controlled by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, have colluded by agreeing not to recruit top employees from one another. CIDs also have been issued in that probe.



And the Federal Trade Commission is looking into whether Google's common ties with computer and gadget maker Apple might discourage competition.



Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, and Arthur Levinson, Genentech's former CEO, are directors at both Google and Apple Google makes an operating system, called Android, that's used in mobile devices that compete with Apple's iPhone and will soon be used in inexpensive computers, called "netbooks," that could siphon sales from Apple's Mac line.



Since Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin started the company in a Silicon Valley garage in 1998, Google has become synonymous with internet search, processing nearly two-thirds of all US search requests.

That has turned Google into a magnet for antitrust regulators, just as Microsoft was a decade ago given its dominance with the Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser, said Don M. Tellock, who formerly specialized in technology regulation for New York's attorney general.



"When you have a company that is dominant in the marketplace like Google is, that is going to garner a lot of attention," Tellock said. "Whether that will lead to prosecution is another question."



Wagner said he thinks Microsoft demands more antitrust attention than Google because Windows still affects more people's interactions with computers than any search engine. But he understands why Google is getting more attention now, calling Microsoft "yesterday's news." He also said many people have "Microsoft fatigue."



Meanwhile, Microsoft is hoping Web surfers are tired of using Google's search engine. The Redmond, Washington-based software maker is reportedly spending $100 million to promote Bing, a Google challenger that Microsoft calls a "decision engine." Google cites Bing as evidence of the challenges it faces in search.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

    £35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Senior Software Engineer - C#, VB.Net, ASP.Net - Kingston, Sur

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior Software Engineer - C#, VB.N...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?