Eric Schmidt: Actually, Google's Market Share Is Lower Than You Think

Eric schmidt at D

Apparently Google isn’t as dominant as you think it is.

Today, chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt submitted the following in written testimony to to a U.S. Senate subcommittee on fair competition:

As I acknowledged during the Committee hearing, Google is “in the area” of 65% of queries in the U.S., if you look only at Google’s general search competitors, such as Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo!. In fact, we find that the monthly general search query figures released by comScore and Hitwise don’t reflect the reality of how many sites Google competes with in search.

Schmidt is probably referring to vertical search engines like Kayak (travel info) and (real estate listings). Collectively, these search engines may have a few points of market share.

But the worry of regulators is that Google can simply build competing verticals, then favour its own verticals in search results. And if a competitor carves out a really valuable niche, then Google can just buy it, like it did with travel information site ITA.

This is a retreat from what Schmidt said a month ago when he appeared in person and basically admitted that Google was dominant.

Schmidt’s change of tune was pointed out by the Association for Competitive Technology, a lobbying group that is funded partly by Google competitors like Microsoft and Oracle. But still — it’s an interesting glimpse into how Google might try to fight allegations that it’s a monopoly.


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