Alphabet CEO Sundar Pihai gestures during the session of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, January 22, 2020.
(Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP via Getty Images)
Google CEO Sundar Pichai says the company has offered a competitive platform that has lowered advertiser prices, giving consumers more choice, according to prepared management comments before Wednesday̵7;s hearing before the Antitrust Chamber’s subcommittee.
“The competitive digital advertising market offers publishers and advertisers, and therefore consumers, a huge choice,” Pihai said. “For example, competition in advertising – from Twitter, Instagram, Comcast and others – has helped reduce the cost of online advertising by 40% over the past 10 years, thanks to which savings have been passed on to consumers through lower prices.”
However, Google remains the largest digital advertising platform by market share. Last year, Google accounted for 31.6% of total digital advertising spending through Facebook and Amazon, holding 22.7% and 7.8%, respectively, according to eMarketer.
The statement comes before Pichai joined Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the House’s antitrust subcommittee on Wednesday. It is expected that the committee’s consideration will lead to a report and legislative proposals to address antitrust regulation in the digital market. Potential laws can inform how government regulators are combating anti-competitive practices in the future.
The most common critics of Google question whether it prefers its own products or oppresses competitors due to their dominance in search and digital advertising. The company is already facing fines from the European Commission’s competition authority for its shopping search tool and Android operating system for mobile devices, which Pichai in his prepared remarks “intentionally” built to encourage competition.
Pichai continues to cite Amazon Alexa, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook owned by WhatsApp as competing platforms where people get information.
“In areas such as travel and real estate, Google faces stiff competition for search queries from many companies that specialize in these areas,” Pihai said in a written reply. “Today’s competitive landscape doesn’t look like it did five years ago, let alone 21 years ago, when Google released its first product, Google Search. People have more ways to search for information than ever before.”
The Justice Department and 50 attorneys are investigating a search of Google and the Android business is facing antitrust investigations. This is expected to lead to a lawsuit that could cover issues ranging from its search product to the digital advertising market, according to the latest report in The Wall Street Journal.
The company is also likely to face questions about its role in allowing misinformation to go viral on its platforms, such as YouTube, which has tried to contain particularly pernicious pandemic information.
Disclosure: Comcast is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.
TIME: Why Sundar Pichai may have the hardest job in Silicon Valley