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Senate Panel Schedules Google Antitrust Hearing

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(Reuters) - The Senate's antitrust panel has scheduled its hearing on Google Inc's use of its considerable market clout for mid-September, the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a brief statement on Thursday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee will meet on September 21 for a hearing titled: "The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?"

The only known witness at this point is Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Schmidt had been Google's chief executive officer but vacated the post to company co-founder Larry Page in April. He now oversees government affairs.

Google, a global leader in search engine advertising, is in the midst of an antitrust probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission following accusations that it abused its market dominance.

The FTC is expected to look into complaints from Google's rivals that its search results favor the company's own services, among other concerns.

Google, which has been making many acquisitions, is also talking to the other U.S. antitrust regulator, the Justice Department, about its proposed acquisition of online advertising company AdMeld.

Schmidt has said that Google would cooperate fully with U.S. antitrust regulators.

Some analysts and investors believe Google will strike a settlement with the FTC to avoid the distraction and business risk that would come with a prolonged fight.

Google controls more than two-thirds of the global search market. But new Web technologies, such as social networking, smartphone applications and location-based services, offer new ways for people to find information online -- putting pressure on Google to find new ways to stay on top.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)
Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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