Technology Sector Comes Under Increased Antitrust Scrutiny


Earlier this year, in her first speech as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division, Christine Varney referred to Americans' growing reliance on high-tech solutions in the home and workplace, and stated that her Department “planned to devote attention to understanding the unique competition-related issues posed by these markets”. See Christine Varney, Vigorous Antitrust Enforcement in This Challenging Era, Speech Before the Center for American Progress (May 11, 2009), available here. Less than six months later, DOJ has reportedly initiated an antitrust investigation into one of the nation's largest technology companies, IBM, and filed a brief detailing its concerns at a proposed book settlement that would allow the creation of a vast digital library by Google. During the same time period, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating the boardroom overlap between Google and Apple with respect to a breach of the prohibition on “interlocking directorates" and the Federal Communication Commission ( FCC) has been investigating the state of competition in the wireless market. Together, these actions may evidence the beginning of a wider trend of antitrust scrutiny of the technology sector.

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