Last week we reported that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Google CEO Larry Page are set to meet in court today to resolve their dispute that could possible end up threatening the reign of the Android platform. The court meeting could end up to them agreeing on licensing fees in which Google would be on the losing end. Some analysts have stated that device manufacturers could end up paying $5-$15 per device that sport the Android platform. If this happens, Android devices would cost more than iOS devices, which will result in lower sales. Or, worst case scenario, manufacturers could look for other platforms to use on their device. Google could pay for the royalties of device manufacturers but with tons of Android devices being activated and manufactured every day, Google and its platform supporters could take a massive financial hit.
As for the antitrust issue thrown their way, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will be going solo to the Senate hearing, as per their request. Google hired some 13 lobbying and communications firms since May. Former House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt and the son of Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar will be rooting for the internet search giant as well.
“Google is a great American success story, but its size, position and power in the marketplace have raised concerns about its business practices, and raised the question of what responsibilities come with that power,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who is a member of the antitrust subcommittee and who as the attorney general of Connecticut played a leading role among the states that sued Microsoft.
The hearing would focus on whether or not Google is favoring their own services over competitors, as in the case of Yelp. Yelp used to get heavy traffic from Google but since the internet search giant launched Places, a service that offers a service similar to Yelp after the Google-Yelp acquisition fell through, Yelp results became second to Google Places results. Representatives from Google competitors are also set to appear in court to present their case.
If Google is found to favor certain services over others or discriminates, an antitrust issue is certainly at hand. And the irony of the growing similarities between Google and Microsoft gives an indication as to where such an antitrust case could go.
Google refused to comment on Schmidt’s solo court appearance but stated, “We’re looking forward to the hearing and answering any questions Senators may have about our business.”