While Google is beefing up its patent portfolio and adding to its legal team, regulators in the U.S. and the EU are digging deeper into the company's business practices. They want to determine whether Google's strong position in the market presents antitrust issues that need to be addressed.
Reuters reported last week that the antitrust panel of the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the matter Sept. 21. Former CEO Eric Schmidt, who serves as the company's chairman and oversees government affairs, is expected to testify, among others. The Federal Trade Commission is also investigating complaints from competitors that Google abuses its position in the market. And on top of everything else, the Department of Justice is checking out Google's proposed acquisition of AdMeld to ensure that the combination of the two companies won't strangle competition, either.
Meanwhile, sources familiar with the EU's antitrust probe of Google told Reuters this week that the investigation has expanded to include nine different complaints - some from smaller companies, a few from "national regulators." The increased scrutiny could move Google to settle with the U.S., the EU or both to avoid the hassle that comes with protracted investigation, the story says.
Of course the judge hearing the patent litigation between Google and Oracle has been pushing the parties to settle, too - so far with nothing to show for it.