Google CEO Sundar Pichai plans to tell Congress the company faces plenty of competition

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

  • Ahead of a Wednesday House Judiciary hearing, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai released opening remarks that show how the company plans on defending its large advertising business.
  • Pichai names Amazon, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook-owned WhatsApp for competitive platforms where people get information.
  • Pichai also said it helped small businesses thrive during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says the company has offered a competitive platform that has lowered prices advertisers, giving consumers more choice, according to prepared remarks the executive made ahead of Wednesday’s hearing before the House Antitrust Subcommittee.

“A competitive digital ad marketplace gives publishers and advertisers, and therefore consumers, an enormous amount of choice,” Pichai stated. “For example, competition in ads — from Twitter, Instagram, Comcast and others — has helped lower online advertising costs by 40% over the last 10 years, with these saving passed down to consumers through lower prices.”

Nonetheless, Google remains the largest digital ad platform by market share. Last year, Google held 31.6% of total digital advertising spending with Facebook and Amazon holding 22.7% and 7.8% respectively, according to eMarketer.

The statement comes ahead of Pichai joining Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the House Antitrust Subcommittee on Wednesday. The committee’s probe is expected to result in a report and legislative proposals for how to address antitrust issues in the digital marketplace. Potential laws could inform how state regulators crack down on anti-competitive practices in the future.

Google’s most common critics ask questions about whether it favors its own products or suppresses competitors through its dominance in search and digital advertising. The company has already faced fines from the European Commission’s competition authority over its shopping search tool and Android mobile operating system, which Pichai said in his prepared remarks was “deliberately” built to encourage competition.

Pichai goes on to cite Amazon’s Alexa, TwitterSnapchat, and Facebook-owned WhatsApp as competitive platforms where people get information.

“In areas like travel and real estate, Google faces strong competition for search queries from many businesses that are experts in those areas,” Pichai stated in the written remarks. “Today’s competitive landscape looks nothing like it did 5 years ago, let alone 21 years ago, when Google launched its first product, Google Search. People have more ways to search for information than ever before.”

Google is facing antitrust probes along the same lines by the Department of Justice and 50 attorneys general investigating Google company’s search and Android businesses. That is expected to result in a lawsuit that could span issues ranging from its search product to digital advertising marketplace, according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal.

The company will also likely face questions on its role in allowing misinformation go viral on its platforms such as YouTube, which has struggled to contain particularly damaging pandemic information.

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.

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