Antitrust

Android antitrust investigators ask Yandex to detail Google woes

The Russian web firm has confirmed that it was asked to provide evidence in a potential EU antitrust case against Google, over its bundling of core services with Android. Investigators are also looking into claims of Google forcing manufacturers to delay or cancel devices using non-Google services.

Data firm hits Craigslist with monopoly claim

A data company has filed a dramatic counterclaim against Craigslist, accusing the classified site of acting as an illegal monopolist. A court filing argues Craigslist engaged in illegal, predatory behavior through actions like “ghosting” and unfair licenses.

Lawyer files Hail Mary request to stop ebook price changes

A surprise ruling last week will force publishers to tear up their e-book contracts with retailers. The ruling is scheduled to go into effect in the next few days and, if it does, Amazon and others will be allowed to slash the price of e-books. A prominent lawyer has filed a Hail Mary brief to stop the process.

Why Google’s homepage antics are more serious than they appear

Google’s use of its homepage to advertise its own products and display pop-up birthday reminders for its Google+ network on its homepage may seem like just an annoyance, but each step the company takes toward promoting its own offerings raises more red flags for antitrust regulators.

DOJ green-lights Verizon-cable deal with minor conditions

The Justice Department is giving Verizon clearance to close its $3.9 billion acquisition of the cable companies’ 4G airwaves. While it is imposing conditions on their joint-marketing agreements — basically non-compete pacts — to resell each others wireline and wireless services, the concessions are relatively minor.

Report: Verizon compromises on cable non-compete pact

Verizon may well gets it 4G spectrum and its co-marketing agreements from the cable operators, though it will be forced to make some minor compromises to get the deal approved. WSJ reports that regulators wants to put a five-year timeline on Verizon’s pact with cable.

Should we trust Google when it comes to piracy and search?

Google is making changes to its search algorithms that will penalize websites hit with copyright-removal claims, but the company is saying very little about what criteria it will use to determine who gets hit and who doesn’t — can we trust it to make the right decision?

Microsoft faces $7bn fine for violating EU deal

Facing a fresh investigation from EU regulators over its failure to promote a choice of browsers to Windows 7 users, Microsoft has swiftly blamed a ‘technical error’. But will that be enough to save it from a gigantic fine?

How exactly is Google offering to appease Europe?

Reports that Eric Schmidt has offered to settle an antitrust investigation by the European Commission are everywhere. But the reality is that the details of Google’s proposals — and the regulator’s response — remain shrouded in mystery.

Microsoft v EU: Living proof that big fines don’t work

Microsoft’s lost its attempt to get an €899m European antitrust fine overturned — an apparent victory for local regulators. But the reality is that while this fine might be vast by European standards, it’s barely a scratch on the surface for Redmond.

All 50 states may join e-book refund settlement

The lawsuits over price-fixing in the e-book market took a new twist today after a HarperCollins lawyer predicted that three publishers could reach a settlement with all 50 state governments in the next two months.

So who’s leaking the details of the Apple e-book investigation?

Anti-trust investigations are supposed to be tight-lipped affairs in which all sides lawyer up until the case settles or goes to trial. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work at least. But in the case of book publishers and Apple, people are tossing legal duties to the wind in the hopes that press leaks will shape a settlement.

Is Europe on a countdown to war with Google?

With Google and European officials clashing again, this time over the company’s new, simplified privacy policy, is it simply a one-off moment of friction — or part of an inevitable slide towards all-out conflict?

Is adding Google+ to search a red flag for regulators?

Google is promoting its new “personalized search” features as an enhancement for users, but Twitter and others say the integration of Google+ results uses the company’s dominance in search to promote its own service, an argument that could turn up the antitrust heat in Washington.

Hey Google — you can’t have your cake and eat it too

Controversy over a Google marketing program for Chrome that involves spammy web content and the removal of an “offensive” Google+ avatar photo reinforce how hard it is for the search giant to run multiple businesses without tripping over itself and its own guidelines.

DOJ to AT&T: No FCC petition, no merger

The Justice Department has sent a clear signal to AT&T that it doesn’t like its tactics as the operator tries to buy T-Mobile. The DOJ is seeking a halt all court proceedings until AT&T resubmits its FCC merger application, potentially putting the deal in limbo.

AT&T-Mo fails FCC test but has one more shot

The FCC condemned AT&T-Mo in every way it could think of short of denying the actual merger. Instead it passed it along to an administrative law judge, where telecom deals go to die. But first AT&T has to face down the DOJ.

The law and the web just don’t mix

Software development is always evolving and advancing, and business models and cultural norms evolve along with it. New capabilities spring up regularly, and business models can change overnight, meaning laws written to address specific concerns can fast become obsolete or, perhaps worse, hindrances to innovation.

Google and the antitrust inquiry: Fighting shadows

The government’s case against Google will have to grapple with some fundamental questions. What does the word “monopoly” mean when applied to a web-based entity like Google? And are network effects a barrier to entry, or are online monopolies inherently more fragile than their real-world cousins?

Can anyone even compete with Google any more?

One argument likely to play a role in the federal government’s antitrust case against Google is that the company’s market position is unassailable thanks to network effects and a number of other factors, and therefore it is literally unkillable. But is this really true?

It’s official: Google+ will be connected to everything

It’s been obvious for awhile now that Google has a lot riding on the success of its new social network, Google+. But some comments from senior exec Brad Horowitz make it clear that Google’s new platform will become part of everything the web giant touches.

Whether Google is a monopoly isn’t the point

Being a monopoly may be irritating to competitors, but it’s not illegal. The problem with applying antitrust law to Google is that even if you assume it has a monopoly and is being anticompetitive, it’s not at all clear how that is bad for consumers.

Why a Google antitrust investigation is a mistake

After years of finger-pointing by competitors, Google is finally coming under the scrutiny of federal antitrust regulators. But just like a similar investigation into Microsoft a decade ago, a federal inquiry into whether Google’s behavior is illegal is likely to be a giant waste of time.

Google’s Zagat buy could give search critics more ammo

Google’s purchase of Zagat is a small deal, but the ripples it creates could be much larger — the purchase takes Google even further into the area of content ownership, and that could give “search neutrality” advocates and the FTC more ammunition against the company.

Will an antitrust investigation derail the Google train?

The FTC is said to be close to opening an official antitrust inquiry into Google, which would put the search giant right where Microsoft was in the late 1990s — and even if it ultimately wins, the fight could have long-term effects on its ability to compete.

Google Faces New Antitrust Accusations in South Korea Over Android

Google — already facing heat on accusations that it is exerting more control over its Android platform and stymieing competition in some cases — is dealing with new antitrust complaints from two Korean Internet companies that claim Google is blocking operators and manufacturers from pre-installing their search engines.

Microsoft Launches Antitrust Complaint Against Google

After spending more than a decade battling European regulators over accusations that it was engaged in anti-competitive practices, Microsoft has turned around and made its own complaint over Google’s dominance of the search market. Is it a sign of things to come?

Apple Subscriptions Draw Attention From U.S. Regulators

Apple’s new in-app subscription policy has drawn the attention of U.S. regulatory bodies, just as many suspected. Both the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are reportedly examining the new App Store rules with the aim of determining whether they violate antitrust laws.

Feds May Sue Over Google’s Deal To Buy ITA

Google’s bid to acquire travel-search company ITA software is facing a major hurdle, as government lawyers are preparing a lawsuit to block…

Innovation Kills Monopolies Faster Than Governments Can

Google has come under increasing pressure from those who believe the government should investigate the company for antitrust violations, just as it did Microsoft and AT&T. But would doing so help make the tech sector more competitive? A recent study suggests that it would not.

Google Fights Growing Battle Over “Search Neutrality”

The European Union is broadening an investigation into Google that was originally launched following complaints the web giant was giving its own assets preferential treatment in search results. Google has also been coming under increasing pressure in the U.S. as a result of similar allegations.

How Big Should We Let Google Get? Wrong Question

A Washington Post columnist argues that Google has grown so large and dominant it should be prevented from buying new companies, even those in completely new markets it doesn’t have a presence in. But is that really what we want antitrust laws to do?

Google’s Search Tactics Under Investigation in Europe

Nine months after reports first surfaced that the European Commission was investigating Google over its search tactics, the commission is now confirming it’s indeed opening up a formal antitrust investigation looking at how Google uses its dominant position in the online search market.

Report

Intel, Oracle and Antitrust: The IT Landscape Hangs in the Balance

It might be wise to look past the economy and altogether overrated concept of innovation when considering what the IT landscape will look like a few years down the road. Increasingly, it looks like antitrust lawyers and federal judges will play just as large a part as those traditional market forces. The European Commission is holding up Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems amid concerns over the future of MySQL, and Intel – fresh off its record $1.45 billion fine by the European Union – just yesterday got served with an antitrust lawsuit being brought by the State of New York. How these situations play out could have vista-altering results in some major sectors.