Google doesn't want to be mired in an antitrust case. So in an effort to prevent that, the tech titan has hired 22 lobbying firms, a former U.S. Congresswoman and given money to politicians, in what some say is an effort to avoid government sanctions.
Google is facing antitrust probes in the U.S. and Europe, and those leading the charge are its competition -- namely Microsoft, Facebook and Apple, according to Politico. Right now Google has few friends, likely because its success and enviable Internet penetration.
As we wrote last month, Google has spent $5 million in the first three months of 2012 lobbying members of Congress. While that may not sound like much, it's triple what Google spent during the same time in 2011, only $1.48 million. (Another part of its public relations campaign is the company's funding of academic papers, including one released this month about how Google's search results may be covered by the First Amendment.)
But politicians aren't blind to the push-and-pull of the tech world. According to Politico:
The FTC officials wondered in an exchange . . . whether Google rivals were behind Consumer Watchdog in its calls for the agency to investigate Google’s Street View mapping project, which captured data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks. FTC Public Affairs Director Cecelia Prewett wrote to colleagues asking who was backing the group, speculating in an email, “[It’s] also Microsoft and Yahoo which probably funds the consumer group making the complaint.”