The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Qualcomm Violated Antitrust Laws, U.S. Judge Rules. Qualcomm abused its position as a giant of the semiconductor industry to harm competition and overcharge cellphone makers, a federal judge has ruled, striking at the heart of the company’s business and sending shock waves through the smartphone industry. Judge Lucy Koh of the Federal District Court in San Jose, Calif., found that Qualcomm’s patent-licensing practices violated antitrust law. The Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm in 2017, arguing that the company used its monopoly position as the supplier of two kinds of wireless chips to compel handset makers to pay “onerous” fees for the use of its patents. “Qualcomm’s licensing practices have strangled competition” in the market for wireless modem chips for years, Judge Koh wrote in the public version of her ruling, parts of which were redacted to protect trade secrets.
T-Mobile-Sprint deal would boost prices, hurt poorest U.S. consumers, experts say. Concessions by T-Mobile US Inc. to win U.S. government approval to buy Sprint Corp. will likely lead to higher prices for the poorest Americans, many of whom use prepaid wireless plans, analysts and activists said. The more expensive prepaid plans, used by people who lack the good credit to qualify for a cheaper postpaid plan means low-income users will have less access to the internet for job hunts and job applications, and for children to do homework, activists say. With postpaid, people pay with credit cards or monthly bank withdrawals. Cost matters. Pew Research Center found in 2015 that 48% of the people they polled had to cancel or shut off their cell phone service for at least a short time because they could not afford it.
Trump DOJ Wants Role in Lawsuit Over Pay at 2 NC Med Schools. The Trump Administration said Monday it wants to be able to enforce an expected settlement in a federal lawsuit in North Carolina accusing neighboring research universities of conspiring to depress wages for medical professionals. The U.S. Justice Department said in a court filing Monday that it should be allowed to join the pending settlement to enforce federal antitrust laws barring anti-competitive agreements. The judge hearing the case set Monday as a new deadline for lawyers for Duke University and former Duke physician Dr. Danielle Seaman to file their preliminary settlement.