Posts Tagged ‘antitrust’

Feds’ Approval of Verizon Deal Bad for Consumers

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

A good article by my friend Troy Wolverton of the San Jose Mercury News about federal regulators’ approval of a joint venture by Verizon and multiple cable operators:

Approval of Verizon-cable agreement a bad deal for consumers

Such deals may make accessing the internet more difficult and more expensive.

“Star Trek” Law Enforcement at FTC?

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Antitrust officials at the FTC are looking into Google. Background here and here.

Google, of course, is a big player in blogging, with its Blogger platform.

Now comes Reagan-era former FTC chairmen James C. Miller III and Daniel Oliver arguing in the Washington Examiner that against the FTC investigation, deriding it as “returning to its Star Trek law enforcement policies – that is, to boldly go where no agency has gone before.”

That’s a cheap shot. The FTC has to break new ground when monopolizers do. That would mean they are doing their job.

Miller and Oliver say that antitrust law “is for consumer welfare, not competitor welfare.” True. I totally agree with that. But Miller and Oliver go from there to a silly argument:

Has anyone heard consumers complaining about Google? We have not, probably because consumers are under no pressure to use Google. They do so because they get what they want from Google, and they get it for free.

Duh. So what? Consumers also don’t complain about predatory pricing – designed to drive out competitors. But consumers are sure hurt when competition eventually dries up.

I have no reason to think Google is engaging in any anti-competitive conduct. Time and time again, I see them on the anti-anti-competitive conduct side. But there’s no reason for the FTC not to look into it.

The best part of the op-ed is when Oliver and Miller disclose they are “advisers to Google,” and then immediately say, “but their thoughts and views are their own.”

Ha. Sure. Their arguments may still have merit regardless of their relationship to Google. But to lamely claim their opinions to be unfettered erases credibility in my book.

The real reason Google seems not to be a potential antitrust threat is that in the cyber world, today’s charging gorilla can quickly be hunched over wheezing (Microsoft, MySpace, and many others.)

But bellyaching about the FTC looking into it and doing their jobs is sorry work.

Angela Daly: Recent Issues for Competition on the Internet

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Logo of the European University InstituteAngela Daly of the European University Institute’s Department of Law has posted to SSRN Recent Issues for Competition on the Internet: Google’s Search and Advertising, the Apple App Store, and the AOL Huffington Post Merger (SSRN No. 1838346).

Now, if Angela will just tackle the virtual monopoly Blog Law Blog has on blogging about the law of blogging, she’ll have covered everything.

Here’s the abstract:

This paper will examine three recent instances involving competition concerns on the Internet. The Internet at its inception was widely viewed as not suffering from any competition concerns, however in the last ten years, with on the one hand the emergence of major Internet corporations, and on the other the recognition of the Internet as an important trading platform for offline corporations and their subsequent use of the medium, the issue of anticompetitive behaviour by such entities has reared its head.

The three instances involving competition concerns that this paper will consider are: the progress of the European Commission’s antitrust investigation into Google for alleged anticompetitive behaviour in the markets for online search and advertising; the situation with Apple’s App Store and the ability of developers to create applications for its devices (i.e. the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch); and the circumstances surrounding the merger between popular blog the Huffington Post and Internet giant AOL and any implications this may have for concentration and media plurality on the Internet.

The legal and regulatory responses so far to these scenarios will be examined, along with an analysis of whether there are legitimate competition and regulatory concerns, and the extent to which they are being addressed by the appropriate authorities. Finally, based on this consideration, a determination on whether any further action should be taken to safeguard competition in these parts of the Internet will be made.