The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
States Sue to Stop $26.5 Billion Sprint-T-Mobile Deal. A group of state attorneys general led by New York and California filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to block T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion bid for Sprint, citing consumer harm. The state attorneys general said the promised benefits, such as better networks in rural areas and faster service overall, cannot be verified, while eliminating a major wireless company will immediately harm consumers by reducing competition and driving up prices for cellphone service. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement that combining the two companies would reduce access to affordable, reliable wireless service nationwide and would particularly affect lower-income and minority communities in New York and other urban areas.
U.S. regulator opposes Qualcomm’s effort to put antitrust ruling on hold. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday said in a court filing that mobile chip supplier Qualcomm Inc. should not be allowed to put a sweeping antitrust ruling against it on hold as it pursues an appeal. The filing in federal court in San Jose, California, follows a May 21 decision by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh that would drastically alter the business model of Qualcomm, which supplies modem chips to connect phones to mobile data networks but makes most of its profits through licensing patents. Among other things, Koh’s decision would require Qualcomm to license its patents to rival chip makers instead of phone makers, which could potentially slice its patent royalties from several dollars per phone to pennies.
Tech on Trial: House Mulls Antitrust Help for News Industry. Members of both parties on Tuesday suggested legislation may be necessary for the financially-struggling U.S. news industry as lawmakers began a bipartisan investigation into the market dominance of Silicon Valley companies. At a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, news media associations accused the tech companies of jeopardizing the industry’s economic survival by putting news content on their platforms without fairly compensating them. “This is the first significant antitrust investigation undertaken by Congress in decades,” Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., the subcommittee’s chairman, said at the start of the hearing.