New Antitrust lawsuit suggests that Google has a monopoly on internet and mobile search

Google_Now_Launcher_Large_IconAccording to a new antitrust lawsuit that was filed yesterday, Google is said to be violating antitrust laws by maintaining an illegal monopoly  — not only on Internet search but mobile search as well. This has supposedly affected the search market adversely while inflating the cost of devices of competing companies.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for Northern California. It accuses the Mountain View company of using Android as a way to maintain the monopoly through secret agreements with device makers. These agreements require companies to load Google’s suite of apps onto their devices. Known as Mobile Application Distribution Agreements or MADAs, the agreements have been made with mostly all Android vendors.  These agreements essentially help partners facing lawsuits of their own in funding, technical support and other assistance.


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Google mulling options after European Union rejects antitrust offer

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Remember that beef between Google and the European Union from over the summer? It still has not been solved and it does not look like it will be anytime soon. According to Reuters, Google’s latest offer of a settlement with the EU has been rejected. To make matters worse, Google has reportedly been told that they are running out of time to settle the matter and will have to face formal charges. Reuters says that “EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia rejected the internet search giant’s latest concessions on Friday and warned that it has only a short time left to make a satisfactory offer.” The issue at hand is that Google blocked search results containing competitors.

Google’s latest offer was revised by a group of 125 companies that the commission deemed their rivals for feedback. One of the components of the offer was to “allow rivals to display their logos and make their web links more prominent to users.” Unfortunately, it was not strong enough and Almunia stated to Reuters that “there is little time left, but the ball is still in Google’s court. But within a short time frame the ball will then be here (with the European Commission) and then it will be the moment to take decisions.” For the European Union, an end is planned for spring 2014.

Source: Reuters

Sprint to buy out T-Mobile? Regulators could stop deal short

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In a move that would leave the United States mobile carrier market dominated by three carriers rather than four, Sprint could be soon buying out T-Mobile to set up a merger for the ages.

The company still hasn’t decided on the action it will take, but Sprint could post a bid in the first half of 2014, and the deal could be worth more than $20 billion.


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Google in the hot seat again as Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle file new antitrust complaint with the EU

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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.”


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Department of Justice (DOJ) Sanctions T-Mobile/Metro PCS Merger

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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.
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Samsung announces it will drop injunction requests against Apple in European countries

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.
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Google Faces Increased Scrutiny in Light of Motorola Acquisition Approval

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” 
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