Looks like Google might be in the hot seat again because competitors filed a new antitrust complaint against them in the EU alleging that the Android OS gives an unfair advantage for Google apps. The complaint was filed by Fairsearch Europe, which consists Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle. Lead lawyer for Fairsearch said that Google is using Android “as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today,” He is referring to the fact that Android OEM’s have a contractual obligation to place Google-branded apps such as Maps, YouTube, and Drive in “prominent default placement on the phone.”
Okay, so maybe they don’t openly sanction the merger, but it sure appears that way when you analyze it. The DOJ has let an important antitrust law waiting period expire, which opens the floor back up to the merger. The waiting period, which was required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, was enacted to control monopolies across various industries.
Of course, this is not the only Antitrust law in place to control monopolies, so the two powerhouses will still have a few hurdles to overcome before they can make the merger final. The next hurdle will be getting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the transfer of spectrum licenses. » Read the rest
On the same day that Samsung received mixed news regarding the Apple v Samsung fight here in the U.S., the company announced they are dropping their requests for injunctions barring sales of Apple products in several European countries. In courtrooms in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, Samsung is withdrawing requests for injunctions “in the interest of protecting consumer choice.” That statements sounds like Samsung has decided to start walking the walk and not just talking the talk when it comes to letting the market, and not the courts, decide which technologies will prevail with consumers. » Read the rest
Fresh off the recent approvals by both the US and European Commission for the Motorola acquisition, Google could very well face increased scrutiny over possible patent misuse. There are concerns that Google could use its upcoming received patents to possibly penalize rival companies. Google’s view on patent licensing is what has regulators worried. The Department of Justice antitrust division had this to say in a statement in comparison to both Apple and Microsoft, “Google’s commitments were more ambiguous and do not provide the same direct confirmation of its SEP [standard essential patent] licensing policies” » Read the rest
Looks like Google is looking out for numero uno while the AT&T and T-Mobile antitrust trail is taking place. Can you blame them? In an effort to keep and protect proprietary information from leaking out or getting into the hands of their competitors, they’ve filed a motion to forbid any disclosure regarding its plans for Android. The motion was filed by Google yesterday in hopes that a judge will grant their request in order to protect any possible release of confidential information. If this information were to leak out, it could be extremely harmful to Google’s business plans and strategy for the Android operating system.
Apparently, while conducting the antitrust investigation between AT&T and T-Mobile, Google supplied the DOJ with sensitive material and is now taking precautionary measures in keeping that information private. We can certainly think of a few companies off the top of our heads who would love to get their hands on information like that. However, Google is pretty adamant in ensuring that certain information is not revealed during the hearing. The proceedings were provoked when the DOJ stepped in last month and filed its own suit against the acquisition claiming that it will surely hinder competition. Only time will tell what happens as this begins to unfold. But one thing is for certain, Google is going to do whatever it takes to ensure its secrets stay secret. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
AT&T has been hard at work to make sure their pending T-Mobile acquisition doesn’t fall through. Sources close to the situation say that AT&T is working on a “two-track plan” to address concerns raised in the recent complaint filed by U.S. antitrust regulators.
While the specifics of the plan can’t be confirmed, AT&T is said to be preparing itself to make concessions in an effort to ease the federal fears that the merger will reduce competition and raise wireless cost. Among the concessions being considered are the sale of T-Mobile assets and the possible retention of T-Mobile value-orientated rate plans.
Some sources say that to make the deal work, AT&T may have to sell nearly 25% of T-Mobile’s network and customer base. While the regional assets will likely be sought after by smaller carriers looking to grow out their coverage, the national assets have fewer potential buyers.
Two main possibilities are Sprint and Verizon, but that may not happen anytime soon, as an acquisition like that would raise antitrust scrutiny of its own.
AT&T has a lot on the line as they would have to shell out $6 Billion in compensatory fees to T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, if the deal falls through. Some sources say that AT&T is feeling confident about their new solution. With $6 billion on the line, I hope for their sake that they are right.
Apparently the U.S. government is not in agreement with the AT&T purchase of T-Mobile as it has filed court papers in Washington to block the $39 billion merger. According to the U.S. government is would “substantially lessen competition” in the wireless market.
The U.S. is seeking a declaration that AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile would violate U.S antitrust law which would result in a court order blocking the deal.
“AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market,” the U.S. said in its filing.
The chairman of the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee, Senator Herb Kohl, is recommending that federal regulators deny the AT&T planned purchase 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.
Many members of Congress wrote a letter to the Justice Department and the FCC expressing concern as well. “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. “Such industry consolidation could reduce competition and increase consumer costs at a time our country can least afford it.”
When you’re as big a company as Google is, you tend to find yourself in the hot seat more often than not. In the latest hot seat news regarding the giant search company, Reuters reports that the Federal Trade Commission is considering an investigation into Google’s dominance over search. Why the “consideration” first? The FTC has decided to wait upon a decision from the Justice Department on whether or not Google’s planned $700 million dollar purchase of ITA Software Inc’s ticketing software should be challenged.
The FTC and Justice Department will ultimately decide which will lead the massive investigation, as both are responsible for investigating antitrust claims. In recent news, it appears as though the Justice Dept could be making an announcement any day now regarding the ITA Software deal. We’ll be monitoring the interwebs closely for the decision and will report back ASAP on the outcome. As of now both the FTC and Google have declined to comment or make any official public statements.
How did this all come into light in the first place? Last week, the giant Bing themselves filed a formal complaint with European antitrust regulators. The company boldly claimed that Google “systematically thwarts” any search competition. What say you? Do you think Google is fudging search results? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
When a business deal this big goes down, you know that someone with some pull is going to have a problem with it. Reminds me of Ghostbusters when they started getting really big and that goofy loser Walter Peck had a problem with them and made them shut down their containment unit at the main shop….bad things happened to the city of New York!
I’m not suggesting bad things are going to happen, actually, this merger will most likely be a great thing for AT&T and T-Mobile customers, as they’ll likely see a much larger coverage map, but as the way of things, some Senator, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, has her nose out of joint over it, much like Chuck Schumer who let Steve Jobs know about the antenna issues with the iPhone…which we know led to ‘Antennagate’. Senator Klobuchar is asking the DOJ and FCC to pay close attention to this type of deal, as it could have massive effects on the mobile markets economically, and I don’t disagree with that…she’s got a point. That said though, this whole process may take anywhere from 12 -18 months to investigate, which means many many dollars will be spent in the process. Who do you think will end up paying for all those expenses in the end…
That’s politics I guess, you make a big fuss over something and people listen…but do they agree is the question. It didn’t work out so well for Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich after going for the Napster jugular.