Former Google Exec Schmidt Airs Frustration with DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit

October 22nd, 2020 2:24 PM

Google has already released its statement about the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust lawsuit, but now, a former CEO of the company has decided to speak out as well.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live Conference on Wednesday, during which he expressed his frustration about the antitrust lawsuit.

Schmidt, whom The Journal described as a “longtime liberal political donor,” claimed that the lawsuit was “largely driven by Republicans, at the end of a term of a president whose polling indicates that he’s unlikely to be re-elected.” He also said that he does not believe that Google did anything illegal.

The Democratic Super PAC, Future Forward, recently fundraised $66 million in a haul powered, in part, by Schmidt. 

“Someone needs to say this. I’m unfettered by the corporate rules now that I’m no longer a board member, nor an employee. I can say what I actually think,” said Schmidt, who remained on the board of Alphabet, Inc., the parent company of Google, until last year.

Schmidt does appear to still retain influence at the company, however. The Journal pointed out that he “has special shares that give him disproportionate say into company decision making. He said in the interview that he hadn’t yet spoken with Google executives about the suit.”

The DOJ’s complaint alleged that Google is “unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising in the United States through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices.” The United States Department of Justice and 11 states have sought a remedy from the court to the effects of this conduct.

Despite Google’s unsurprising opposition to the lawsuit, representatives from both the Republican Party and Democratic Party appear to be in favor of the lawsuit. In a statement to Recode, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called Attorney General William Barr a “corrupt Trump crony,” but acknowledged that “the Justice Department has the power to pursue a legitimate, long-time-coming suit against Google for engaging in anti-competitive, manipulative, and often illegal conduct.”

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) called the lawsuit “the most important antitrust case in a generation” in a statement released on Twitter. 

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