In the run-up to an U.S. Senate antitrust hearing about Google’s practices on Wednesday, the search giant apparently realized that, much like the order of search results, appearances matter.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in advance of the Sept. 21 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, Google successfully arranged that Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO who now handles public policy issues for the company, would appear first and alone — and not have to rub shoulders with Google critics and others who will testify en masse in a second panel following Schmidt.
The hearing, dubbed The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?, will accommodate appearances by Jeff Katz, the founding CEO of Orbitz and current CEO of metasearch engine Nextag; Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman; Expedia Inc.counsel Tom Barnett; and antitrust expert Susan Creighton of¬†Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
The hearing should be a pretty interesting show, given that the FTC, European regulators and now the Senate Judiciary committee are all breathing down Google’s neck.
It remains to be seen, given Google’s connections on both sides of the political aisle, how rigorous an interrogation Schmidt will face.
But, the search engine is taking no chances.
Google has hired 13 communications and lobbying firms to help fend off antitrust challenges since word of the FTC probe emerged, according to The Wall Street Journal.