Bloomberg: Google Strives for a Comeback in D.C.’s High-Stakes Popularity Contest

April 27, 2022 Media

In recent months members of Google’s Washington policy group received a new assignment: study the opposing team at Microsoft Corp. and figure out what it does that works so well. On paper it was a strange mandate. Microsoft was famously targeted by a government antimonopoly lawsuit in the 1990s, and Google spent its first decades trying desperately not to be the Redmond, Wash., company.

Google does have one advantage in the Washington popularity contest: It’s not Facebook. A Senate staffer characterized Google’s reputation as “middle of the pack,” ahead of both Apple Inc. and Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc., which were the least liked. Sarah Miller, executive director for the American Economic Liberties Project, an antitrust advocacy group, says that for Google, compared with some tech and social media behemoths, it’s easier “to present a warm and fuzzy front.”

Yet the company is intensifying its political efforts, Miller says, taking a “war position” against the tech bills in Congress and its various competition lawsuits in D.C. and beyond. “They’ve stopped trying to soft-pedal,” she says, even if the latest approach is more finesse than force.