Google boosts spending on lobbying
Google spent more than $1 million on lobbying in Washington in the third quarter, according to a report by The Associated Press.
That's a 50 percent increase from the July-September period last year, according to a recent disclosure statement, the AP wrote.
Through the first nine months of this year, Google's lobbying costs came to $2.9 million, a 41 percent increase from the same time last year. That contrasts with a 2 percent decline in Google's companywide expenses during the same period.
Google has been beefing up staff in its Washington office and is engaged in multiple regulatory and legislative concerns. Its settlement with book authors and publishers for digital book searches is being investigated by the Justice Department's antitrust division. The Federal Trade Commission has examined board ties between the firm and Apple, now a rival in mobile phone software and services. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has been advocating for broadband access rules, known as net neutrality, at the Federal Communications Commission. Its foray into phone services with Google Voice has also drawn scrutiny by competitors and the FCC for blocking certain long-distance calls.
Google, which dominates online search, has stirred controversy with its rapid expansion into other areas. While most of its revenue still comes from online advertising through its search business, the company has spread into industries including telecommunications, publishing, news, music, maps and mobile phone software.
Colleague Rob Pegoraro wrote a good Fast Forward column last Sunday about Google's recent push into online navigation, and how the company continues to barrel its way into new businesses with varying degrees of success.
In a recent visit with editorial board members and reporters at The Washington Post, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt gave a glimpse into the future:
"Look, we're a disruptive company," he said. That's the nature of the Web, which is transforming the business landscape and society. So as Google gets into more business lines and traditional business models are challenged by the Web, it's no wonder the company is being looked at more closely in Washington, he said.
But he was unapologetic, saying that Google answers first to consumers. And the moment people begin complaining about the company's services is when they will rethink their business decisions, he said.
November 4, 2009; 3:32 PM ET
Categories: Antitrust , DOJ , FCC , Google , Net Neutrality
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