U.S. government to probe Verizon’s $3.6 billion spectrum deal with Comcast

By on December 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM.

U.S. government to probe Verizon’s $3.6 billion spectrum deal with Comcast

The antitrust division of the United States Justice Department will investigate Verizon Wireless’s plans to acquire spectrum from Comcast and its partners for $3.6 billion. Verizon Wireless announced in early December its intentions to purchase 122 AWS spectrum licenses from SpectrumCo, a joint venture between Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The carrier said it plans to use the additional spectrum to build out its 4G LTE network, pending government approval of the purchase. The Justice Department has the power to block the deal, although it is unclear when the investigation will be concluded.  More →

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Jurors in $1 billion Microsoft antitrust suit fail to reach verdict

By on December 19, 2011 at 7:45 AM.

Jurors in $1 billion Microsoft antitrust suit fail to reach verdict

Jurors in a Utah court failed to reach a verdict in an antitrust lawsuit filed against Microsoft more than six years ago. Software firm Novell filed a complaint against the Redmond-based personal computing giant in 2004, alleging that it reneged on a deal that cost Novell $1.2 billion. The Utah-based software company’s word processing software, WordPerfect, was supposed to be included with the Windows 95 operating system but Microsoft claims that it dumped plans to bundle the program when Novell failed to deliver a stable build in time. Novell argues that Microsoft pulled the plug on its WordPerfect plans to gain market share with its own competing software, Microsoft Word. Jurors were reportedly close to a verdict early on Friday but after continued deliberation, they informed the judge presiding over the case that they were deadlocked, the Associated Press reported on Saturday. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz proceeded to declare a mistrial, and attorneys for Novell told reporters that they would seek to retry the case with a new jury. More →

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Jury close to verdict in $1 billion Microsoft antitrust suit

By on December 16, 2011 at 12:30 PM.

Jury close to verdict in $1 billion Microsoft antitrust suit

A jury in Utah reportedly said it is close to reaching a verdict in a case that could cost Microsoft $1 billion in damages. Software firm Novell filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in 2004 claiming the firm had initially agreed to launch Novell’s WordPerfect program with Windows 95, but then went on to release its operating system without the word processing software. The move cost Novell $1.2 billion according to the company’s claims. Microsoft argued that Novell’s software was not stable enough and instead opted to use its own software, Microsoft Word. The Associated Press on Friday reported that the jury in the case is close to finishing deliberations, though it is unclear how soon a verdict might be announced. More →

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Bill Gates testifies in Novell’s $1 billion antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft

By on November 22, 2011 at 9:15 AM.

Bill Gates testifies in Novell’s $1 billion antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft

Former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates, recently testified in an antitrust suit brought against the company by Novell in 2004. According to the Associated Press, Novell is arguing that Microsoft originally said it would sell Novell’s WordPerfect software as a feature of Windows 95, but then turned around and launched the operating system without WordPerfect built-in. As a result, Novell had to sell the word processor alone, taking a $1.2 billion loss on the deal. Reportedly, Microsoft’s Windows 95 software engineers warned Gates that WordPerfect would crash the OS and that Novell could not provide software that was better than Microsoft’s own Word application in time. As we all know, Word took off and WordPerfect slowly disappeared. “We worked super hard. It was the most challenging, trying project we had ever done,” Gates said, speaking of Windows 95 and his goal to be the first to put a PC on every desk in every home. “It was a ground-breaking piece of work, and it was very well received when we got it done.” The Redmond-based company has asked U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz to toss the suit but, despite Novell’s “thin” claims, Motz said he will leave the verdict up to a jury. More →

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Google rivals head to D.C. for antitrust dogpile

By on September 21, 2011 at 8:15 PM.

Google rivals head to D.C. for antitrust dogpile

Expedia, Nextag and Yelp are in Washington, D.C. to participate in a Senate judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing about whether or not Google has acted anti-competitively in the market. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman is one of the executives who has been asked to provide testimony during the hearing and he has posted his written testimony on Yelp’s website. “Google is no longer in the business of sending people to the best sources of information on the web,” Stoppelman said. “It now hopes to be a destination site itself for one vertical market after another, including news, shopping, travel and now, local business reviews. It would be one thing if these efforts were conducted on a level playing field, but the reality is they are not.” Read on for more. More →

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Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman asks regulators to block AT&T / T-Mobile merger

By on July 20, 2011 at 3:24 PM.

Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman asks regulators to block AT&T / T-Mobile merger

Senator Herb Kohl, the chairman of the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee is recommending that federal regulators deny AT&T’s $39 billion planned acquisition of T-Mobile. ”I have concluded that this acquisition, if permitted to proceed, would likely cause substantial harm to competition and consumers, would be contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest, and therefore should be blocked by your agencies,” Kohl said on Wednesday. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Congressman John Conyers, and Congressman Edward Markey also recently wrote a letter to the Justice Department and the FCC expressing concern that the acquisition would hurt competition in the U.S. wireless market. “We believe that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile would be a troubling backward step in federal public policy–a retrenchment from nearly two decades of promoting competition and open markets to acceptance of a duopoly in the wireless marketplace,” the letter said. “Such industry consolidation could reduce competition and increase consumer costs at a time our country can least afford it.” Sprint and its CEO Dan Hesse have also been very involved in trying to stop the merger. While Hesse has argued the deal will “stifle innovation” in the U.S. Wireless market, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson has argued the opposite and has said it will result in “net job growth.” In June AT&T’s General Counsel Wayne Watts said that the deal, which has been backed by other big tech hitters such as Microsoft, was on schedule for a March 2012 approval. More →

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Google chairman Eric Schmidt to testify during Senate antitrust hearing

By on July 11, 2011 at 4:01 PM.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt to testify during Senate antitrust hearing

Google’s chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, Reuters reported on Monday. On June 24th, Google announced that the Federal Trade Commission would be reviewing its business practices. The search giant said it was “still unclear” as to what the FTC’s concerns were but that it would cooperate fully with the investigation. Watchdog groups such as Fairsearch.org have repeatedly accused Google of eangaging in anti-competitive behavior. “I look forward to discussing a number of important issues relating to Google and Internet search competition,” Senator Mike Lee, the lead Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s anti-trust subcommittee said. More →

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French search company 1PlusV sues Google for $421 million

By on June 28, 2011 at 8:30 PM.

French search company 1PlusV sues Google for $421 million

1PlusV, a French search company, has filed a lawsuit against Google asking for 295 million euros ($421 million). “Between 2007 and 2010, no less than 30 vertical search engines created by 1plusV were black-listed, some of which showed significant business potential,” the company said in its lawsuit. According to Reuters, 1PlusV plans to file the official complaint on Tuesday or Wednesday with the Paris commercial court. Google has been taking a lot of legal heat recently. In the United States, Google recently addressed the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into its business practices, and it has also faced a similar lawsuit in Europe. In March, Microsoft announced that it was filing a complaint against Google with the European Trade Commission. More →

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Google addresses FTC investigation into its business practices

By on June 24, 2011 at 2:53 PM.

Google addresses FTC investigation into its business practices

Google officially announced on Friday that it received word on Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission will begin reviewing its business. Google said that “it’s still unclear what the FTC’s concerns are,” but early reports have suggested the complaints involve the Internet giant’s search and online advertising businesses. Google said that it will continue to follow its five pillars: “do what’s best for the user,” “provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible,” “label advertisements clearly,” “be transparent,” and “loyalty, not lock-in.” “These are the principles that guide us, and we know they’ll stand up to scrutiny. We’re committed to giving you choices, ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs, and, ultimately, fostering an Internet that benefits us all,” Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow, wrote on the company blog Friday. There are, however, some groups that are concerned Google is becoming a monopoly. Read on for more background. More →

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FTC may subpoena Google in anti-trust investigation

By on June 24, 2011 at 11:10 AM.

FTC may subpoena Google in anti-trust investigation

The Federal Communications Commission may subpoena Google during the next five days as part of an anti-trust investigation related to the company’s search and web advertising practices. According to The Wall Street Journal, it is only illegal to purchase or abuse a monopoly, and so a subpoena and an investigation aren’t particularly damning to Google. Reportedly, investigators will examine if the search giant has purposely pushed users towards using its own services, as opposed to those offered by its rivals, using its own online advertising and search network. “Google engages in anticompetitive behavior…that harms consumers by restricting the ability of other companies to compete to put the best products and services in front of Internet users, who should be allowed to pick winners and losers online, not Google,” Fairsearch.org said. The watchdog group is representing a number of Google competitors Expedia, Kayak, Sabre Holdings, and Microsoft. Google faced a similar threat from the Justice Department in April when it proposed buying ITA software, but it settled by allowing the government body to examine some of its practices. The WSJ said a subpoena and an investigation could take a year to wrap-up, and it’s entirely possible nothing will change. More →

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Apple, Google, others hit with antitrust class action lawsuit over ‘no solicitation’ agreements

By on May 4, 2011 at 7:09 PM.

Apple, Google, others hit with antitrust class action lawsuit over ‘no solicitation’ agreements

Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe are among the companies named in a new class actions lawsuit filed on Wednesday in the state of California. The suit, filed by former Lucasfilm software engineer Siddharth Hariharan, alleges that Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar violated antitrust laws by conspiring to fix employee pay.” Hariharan claims that these companies have colluded to limit career opportunities and impose artificial salary caps for employees by entering into agreements that prevented the companies named in the suit from hiring employees away from each other. “My colleagues at Lucasfilm and I applied our skills, knowledge, and creativity to make the company an industry leader,” Hariharan said in a statement.  “It’s disappointing that, while we were working hard to make terrific products that resulted in enormous profits for Lucasfilm, senior executives of the company cut deals with other premiere high tech companies to eliminate competition and cap pay for skilled employees.” Hit the break for the full press release. More →

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AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition to receive in-depth Department of Justice investigation

By on May 3, 2011 at 3:59 PM.

AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition to receive in-depth Department of Justice investigation

The Department of Justice will perform an “in-depth” investigation of AT&T’s proposition to acquire T-Mobile USA, Reuters is reporting. Such an investigation comes as no surprise, as one FCC official assured the public on April 14th that the acquisition would get a thorough review from government antitrust and communications officials. Bloomberg says that the DoJ can issue a decision in as little as 30 days, however, a “second request,” could mean that the investigation will take longer. AT&T announced its plan to purchase T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion on March 20th. Despite Sprint’s claims that the acquisition will stifle competition in the U.S. wireless market, AT&T has argued that the deal will fuel economic growth and create new jobs. More →

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AT&T's T-Mobile acquisiton to get thorough review, FCC official says

By on April 14, 2011 at 12:27 PM.

AT&T's T-Mobile acquisiton to get thorough review, FCC official says

AT&T’s plans to purchase Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile USA will get a thorough examination from government agencies, including antitrust and communications investigators, an FCC aide affirmed on Thursday. AT&T proposed the $39 billion deal on March 20th and a company spokesperson told Bloomberg that Ma Bell plans to file its official application to the Federal Communications Commission “around April 21st.” Once the application has been submitted, the FCC reportedly has 180 days to grant approval. However, one FCC employee told Bloomberg that the FCC isn’t always limited to 180 days, so it could take a bit longer before a final decision is released. The deal has been openly opposed by Sprint, which claimed the transaction would “harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it,” and one anonymous FCC official has said “there’s no way the chairman’s office [will] rubber-stamp” the deal. AT&T’s CEO Randall L. Stephenson sees things differently. On March 30th he said the acquisition will immediately improve reliability for AT&T customers, and argued that there’s plenty of wireless competition in the United States that will continue to help push prices down for consumers. More →

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