With more than 90% of the worldwide search market, it should be obvious that Google has a monopoly in the area.
While some continue to argue it is certainly obvious to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt who responded in the affirmative to the question in front of the US Senate.
Senator Herb Kohl asked Schmidt whether Google had obtained monopoly status.
"Do you 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?" Kohl asked. "You recognize you’re in that area?"
"I would agree, sir, that we’re in that area," Schmidt replied. "I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding of monopoly findings is this is a judicial process."
Claiming they would not abuse their status like Microsoft supposedly did he said:
"We get the lessons of our corporate predecessors," "We also get that it’s natural for you to have questions about our business. [But] one company’s past need not be another company’s future."
Google has however used its dominant online search and advertising businesses to shut out competitors and enter new markets with products and services that could never have otherwise stood on their own. It has entered the smartphone race by giving Android away for free, supported by revenue from their ad business. Most recently they have used their home page to promote their new Facebook challenger.
Google, who destroyed the value of numerous companies like Garmin by giving away mapping for free, wanted to be left alone to continue to “create jobs”.
"What we ask is that you help us ensure that the Federal Trade Commission’s inquiry remains a focused and fair process, so that we can continue creating jobs and building products that delight our users," Eric said.
Senator Kohl was however not impressed.
"Hundreds of thousands of businesses depend on Google to grow and prosper," he said. "We need to recognize that, as the dominant firm in Internet search, Google has special obligations under antitrust law to not deploy its market power to squelch competition."
While the senate committee do not have the power to find Google a legal monopoly, if the hearing goes poorly and this judgement is eventually made Google would face significant restrictions on their ability to integrate, cross promote and cross subsidize their products, something which Microsoft, who was under justice department supervision for nearly 10 years, suffered under significantly.