Google is no stranger to publicly responding to News Corp after the media company issued a letter last year claiming Google was engaged in unfair business practices, and today Google is once again slamming News Corp for what it’s calling inaccuracies in a recent article about the company.
In a blog post on its Public Policy blog, Google’s SVP Communications and Policy Rachel Whetstone takes apart a recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiling Google’s antitrust probe by the FTC and provides counterpoints to what she says are inaccuracies in the report:
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Wall Street Journal:
“The findings [from the Bureau of Competition] stand in contrast to the conclusion of the FTC’s commissioners, who voted unanimously in early 2013 to end the investigation”.
As the FTC made clear this week: “… the Commission’s decision on the search allegations was in accord with the recommendations of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Economics, and Office of General Counsel” (something the Journal has chosen not to report).
Wall Street Journal:
“Since Mr. Obama took office, employees of the Mountain View, Calif., company have visited the White House for meetings with senior officials about 230 times … In comparison, employees of rival Comcast Corp., also known as a force in Washington, have visited the White House a total of about 20 times … Google’s knack for getting in the room with important government officials is gaining new relevance as scrutiny grows over how the company avoided being hit by the FTC with a potentially damaging antitrust lawsuit”.
Of course we’ve had many meetings at the White House over the years. But when it comes to the information the Journal provided to Google about these meetings, our employment records show that 33 of the White House visits were by people not employed here at the time. And over five visits were a Google engineer on leave helping to fix technical issues with the government’s Healthcare.gov website (something he’s been very public about). Checking through White House records for other companies, our team counted around 270 visits for Microsoft over the same time frame and 150 for Comcast.
The Wall Street Journal’s full article, “Inside the U.S. Antitrust Probe of Google,” is available online here.
Google concludes by citing comments from the FTC regarding Google’s “strong pro-competitive arguments” in the case and notes that the FTC has said The Wall Street Journal “makes a number of misleading inferences and suggestions about the integrity of the FTC’s investigation.” The full quote from the FTC via Google:
As the FTC has said, the Journal “makes a number of misleading inferences and suggestions about the integrity of the FTC’s investigation. The article suggests that a series of disparate and unrelated meetings involving FTC officials and executive branch officials or Google representatives somehow affected the Commission’s decision to close the search investigation in early 2013. Not a single fact is offered to substantiate this misleading narrative”.