The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Japan’s FTC investigating Apple over pressure on parts makers: Mainichi. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission is investigating Apple Inc over its pressure on Japanese parts makers and whether it abused its power in violation of antimonopoly rules, the Mainichi newspaper reported on Tuesday. The investigation is the latest by the country’s regulators against the tech giant after they found last year that the company may have breached antitrust rules on the way it sold its iPhones in Japan. It also comes as Apple may face more regulatory scrutiny in the United States.
Pork producers win dismissal of price-fixing lawsuits – U.S. judge. A federal judge on Thursday dismissed antitrust lawsuits accusing several U.S. pork companies of conspiring to limit supply in the $20 billion-a-year market, in order to inflate prices and their own profits at the expense of consumers and other purchasers. Chief Judge John Tunheim of the federal court in Minneapolis said the plaintiffs failed to show “parallel conduct” among the companies, whose combined U.S. market share exceeds 80%, to suggest they had conspired beginning in 2009 to fix prices. The defendants included Hormel Foods Corp, the JBS USA unit of Brazil’s JBS SA, WH Group Ltd’s Smithfield Foods Inc, and Tyson Foods Inc, among others, as well as data provider Agri Stats Inc. They said the plaintiffs failed to allege any agreement to rig prices, and that supply and capacity actually increased.
Russia Opens Antitrust Inquiry Into App Restriction at Apple. Russian officials opened an antitrust investigation into Apple for restricting and removing parental control apps from its App Store shortly after the company released its own competing service, the latest sign of the growing scrutiny of Silicon Valley’s power. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service said late Thursday that it would investigate whether Apple had violated Russian competition law when it rejected a parental control app made by Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company, from the iPhone App Store. The Russian agency said that after reviewing Kaspersky’s complaint, it concluded that Apple had rejected the app, which it had previously approved, and set unclear requirements for app developers.
Deutsche Telekom confident U.S. merger will still deliver cost savings. Deutsche Telekom said on Thursday it still expects the merger of its U.S. unit T-Mobile with Sprint to generate $43 billion in cost savings even after tweaking the deal to secure antitrust clearance. The U.S. Department of Justice approved the deal, which was struck more than a year ago, after T-Mobile agreed to sell Sprint’s prepaid business to satellite TV firm Dish Network Corp to create a fourth U.S. wireless carrier. However, a lawsuit filed by over a dozen U.S. states seeking to halt the deal is still outstanding and although Deutsche Telekom – which owns 63% of T-Mobile – is open to a settlement, it said it expects the case to go to trial in December.