It turns out that Google will testify in September before the Senate Judiciary Committee Antitrust subpanel, according to The Hill. Before the formal initiation of the FTC’s antitrust investigation Google had declined to send Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt or new CEO Larry Page to testify following an informal request by the Senate subcommittee.
Utah Senator and senior committee member Mike Lee issued the following statement in reaction to the earlier, perceived snub:
I’m very disappointed in Google’s response to the request to have Larry Page or Eric Schmidt testify at our subcommittee hearing. I’m committed to work with Senator Kohl and others on the committee to ensure we have the opportunity to investigate these issues thoroughly and receive adequate responses from Google.
This voluntary appearance now avoids a subpoena for the Google testimony and some potentially negative press coverage as a result. The subcommittee will likely be asking Schmidt about a broad range of issues associated with search competition and Google business practices, essentially the same matters being investigated by the FTC.
What’s less clear is whether the hearing will offer any insights or revelations and be more than a PR opportunity for committee members or a chance for Schmidt to repeat the oft-heard Google mantra, “the competition is just a click away.”