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Google Leads Lobbying Spend in US, Braces for Potential $4B Fine in Europe




For those of you who have been reading anything I have said about what is happening to Google in Europe you know that I am not a fan of the intent or the process that the European Union has undergone to bring Google on the cusp of a $4 billion fine. The EU has allowed a few companies led by Microsoft and others including Foundem give the impression that Google simply isn’t playing fair with its search results. Now the desired result for these folks is right around the corner.

The Washington Post reports

Europe may be a financial disaster and a faded military force, but in at least one arena it has emerged as champ: Regulators here are challenging the power of America’s technology titans. And they are winning.

Google is most squarely in the crosshairs as its officials negotiate furiously in hopes of avoiding a $4 billion fine and a formal ruling that it has abused its dominance in the search market to hurt rivals across a range of industries. A deal could be days away.

While things across the pond are not exactly going well for the search giant, back on the home front Google continues to try to protect itself from a less stringent and over bearing government environment than in Europe. Google has led the tech pack in lobbying spend this year. Adweek reports

Under scrutiny by regulators in both the U.S. and Europe for its privacy and business practices, it’s not surprising that Google continues to lead the tech lobby pack when it comes to spending. The company shelled out nearly $4 million in second quarter, according to congressional lobbying disclosure reports.

To put Google’s spending in perspective, Google spent twice as much as Microsoft’s $2 million, four times Facebook’s nearly $1 million and more than eight times Apple’s $470,000.

Even though Google’s second-quarter spending was down from the $5 million it spent in the previous quarter, the total for the first half of 2012 nearly added up to the $9.7 million it spent for all of 2011.

How this all impacts the millions of businesses and individuals that depend on Google is the big question. It’s not the money. Google has that. What it needs to hold on to is the ability to innovate without some big brother scrutiny that says what is and is not allowable.

Honestly, even if Google is ‘too big’ or whatever the logic is, I say so what? The good they do v. the supposed bad they are inflicting are not equal. What do you think?