Google Learns to Navigate Washington the Hard Way

Google is finally starting to learn that the Schoolhouse Rock song, “I’m Just a Bill,” forgot to include the part about lobbying.

Google opened up a Washington, DC office a few years back to handle the minimal lobbying it was doing. But according to a story in the New York Times, Google has been learning the ways of Washington through the school of hard knocks.

And they may not have graduated in time to address the current regulatory concern over their search advertising partnership with Yahoo.

Perhaps Google is just a tad too used to being the big dog in Silicon Valley. But DC is a different culture. Every industry is represented there, from sugar growers to plastic surgeons to the nuanced niches in tech.

And despite an increasingly digital culture, face time is crucial in DC. The NYT article says Google is getting poor attendance marks for its presence at political events.

Meanwhile, Microsoft knows how the machine works, and they’ve been keeping it well oiled in order to influence groups to opposed the Google-Yahoo deal. Even the Latino Farmers and Ranchers have climbed on board the opposition bandwagon.

Microsoft is now suggesting that Google is losing the debate and resorting to calling out lobbying as the reason why instead of regulation.

Of course, when it comes to antitrust regulation, Microsoft calling anyone out is like the pot calling the kettle black.

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