Google hires a dozen lobbying firms

July 1, 2011 at 3:42 PM

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) -- Search engine giant Google said Friday it would hire a dozen Washington area lobbying firms as the Federal Trade Commission prepares its antitrust inquiry.

"We have a strong story to tell about our business and we've sought out the best talent we can find to help tell it," a Google spokesperson told The Hill in an e-mail.

Google has been scrutinized by Congress since last year because of privacy concerns, prompted in part by a WiFi spying incident in which Google collected personal information through unencrypted wireless networks. It is also mentioned during ongoing legislative debate about online privacy and behavioral advertising.

Most of the firms haven't registered on behalf of Google, The Hill reported, but expect to do so soon.

In the 1990s, Microsoft, one of Google's top competitors, was the target of an FTC antitrust investigation into the company's decision to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows. An eventual settlement barred Microsoft from predatory behavior and helped ensure competition in several emerging markets.

Reports surfaced last week the FTC subpoenaed documents for an investigation into whether Google abused its dominance of the search market, The Hill said. It is the first broad antitrust investigation of the firm.

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