The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
EU antitrust chief keeps open threat to break up Google: report. The European Union holds “grave suspicions” about the dominance of internet giant Google and has not ruled out breaking it up, according to a warning by the EU’s antitrust chief, Britain’s Telegraph reported. European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager reckons the threat to split Google into smaller companies must be kept open, the newspaper said. Google currently faces new EU rules on its commercial practices with smaller businesses that use its services.
Uber Beats Philadelphia Cabbies’ Antitrust Appeal. Uber Technologies Inc. on Tuesday defeated an appeal by 80 Philadelphia taxicab companies accusing the ride-sharing company of trying to monopolize that city’s vehicle-for-hire market. The broadly worded decision by a unanimous three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could help Uber defend against similar claims in New York and other cities where the taxi industry is struggling. Taxicab companies and a trade group, the Philadelphia Taxi Association, claimed that Uber had an unfair advantage by being allowed to enter Philadelphia in October 2014 without having to comply with various local regulations governing taxis.
EU antitrust chief turns to academics to help tackle tech challenges. Europe’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, who has taken on Google, Apple and Qualcomm in recent years, is looking to three academics to help her deal with anti-competitive practices in fast-moving technology markets. Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic worry about the power of a few giant technology companies over businesses and users, with critics even calling for the rewriting of antitrust enforcement rules to make them more interventionist. Others, however, say enforcers have no business predicting how new technologies should develop and where and how they should be used. U.S. Federal Trade Commission acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen in a recent speech asked if enforcers were truly qualified to pick winners and losers in the modern economy.
Time Warner Looks Appealing as Antitrust Trial Underway: Barron’s. Shares of Time Warner Inc. look appealing based on their underlying value and on the strong chance that AT&T Inc. will win approval for its $85 billion acquisition of the company, according to the March 26 edition of Barron’s. AT&T squared off with the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday in a long anticipated antitrust trial, as the two sides disputed whether the company’s purchase of Time Warner would be good for consumers or an expensive drag on innovation.