Antitrust NewsWatch

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hearsay.com is on the move

Hearsay.com is currently migrating from Blogger to a new publishing platform. During this transition, we will publish less frequently and may be temporarily off-line from December 15 through December 19. We'll keep you posted on changes to this schedule via the main site. While the look and feel of Hearsay.com will be more basic initially, the platform we've selected - WordPress - allows much more flexibility, especially with regard to tagging stories by topic; or to be more accurate - virtually unlimited flexibility, vs. no capability whatsoever. The new release is currently publishing to over 250 news categories, and as coverage expands, the number of topical areas will grow as well. Some historical content will be converted into the new application, but the initial release will focus exclusively on current news. Expect the site to undergo a series of enhancements in 2006, as its initial versions did in late 2004 and throughout 2005. As always, we value your perspective. Please provide comments and feedback via the contact link at Hearsay.com. Your patience during this transition is most appreciated!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Microsoft may share ad revenue with consumers: Perception of product 'tying' could draw regulator attention | Hearsay.com

The Wall Street Journal reported on December 12 that Microsoft may share ad revenue with consumers in the form of cash or product discounts for other Microsoft products and services. The move is a clear shot at Google, the Web's advertising leader. Bill Gates is quoted in the transcript of a speech before marketing partners in India saying 'We'll actually go to users and say instead of us keeping all that ad revenue, we'll actually share some of it back with the user. The user essentially will get paid, either money or free content or software things that they wouldn't get if they didn't use that search engine.' Microsoft needs to be particularly careful to avoid the perception of linking payments to consumers for the use of one service or product to the purchase of another, since it has global antitrust implications at a time when Microsoft needs to maintain a low profile on related issues. Related Google News

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Microsoft fined $31.9 M for South Korean antitrust violation; contemplates market exit | Hearsay.com

After an unfavorable ruling by South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on December 7, Microsoft is now appealing the verdict and contemplating whether it should follow through on a November threat to exit the South Korean operating system market. Microsoft Korea and the FTC have said that possibility is unlikely. The ruling orders Microsoft to (1) offer two versions of Windows - one with Windows Media Player and Instant Messenger software removed and the other including links to downloads of competitor offerings; (2) send CDs to customers that allows them to replace Media Player and Instant Messenger; (3) unbundle Windows Media Service from the Windows Server operating system; and (4) pay a fine of 33 Billion won ($32 million).
Related Yahoo News

Monday, December 05, 2005

Nielsen antitrust lawsuit labeled a 'battle to save the TV industry' | bizjournals.com

Florida US District Judge Susan Bucklew has ruled that erinMedia LLC can move on to discovery in its antitrust lawsuit against Nielsen Media Research Inc. erinMedia claims that Nielsen is using anticompetitive practices to impede or prevent competition and innovation, and that it has forced major networks into long-term, staggered contracts that make it impossible for companies offer competing services.
Cable, TV & Radio - bizjournals.com

Friday, December 02, 2005

French mobile phone operators fined record $628 million | E-Commerce News

French antitrust authorities slapped record fines on the country's three cell-phone operators on December 1 after a four-year investigation found that Orange, SFR and Bouygues illegally shared sales data and conspired to undermine competition. The three networks were ordered to pay a combined 534 million euros (US$628 million), the largest fine ever imposed by France's Competition Council.
E-Commerce News: Global : French Cell-Phone Operators Fined $628 Million

Thursday, December 01, 2005

S. Korea plans to rule on Microsoft antitrust case next week | MercuryNews.com

"SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's antitrust watchdog said on Novebember 30 that it will likely rule next week on allegations that Microsoft Corp. violated trade rules by bundling its software products with Windows. The Fair Trade Commission began looking into the case because Daum Communications Corp., a South Korean Internet portal, filed a complaint in 2001 alleging that Microsoft engaged in unfair marketing by tying its instant messenger software to Windows."
MercuryNews.com | 11/30/2005 | S. Korea plans to rule on Microsoft antitrust case next week

Microsoft tells judge it is complying with antitrust consent decree | CNET News.com

WASHINGTON - Under fire for a marketing plan that may have improperly favored Windows Media Player, Microsoft on November 30 told a federal judge that it is taking steps to avoid anticompetitive behavior by its employees.
Microsoft tells judge it's antitrust-compliant | CNET News.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Rambus prospects up on Samsung disclosure of $300 million Justice Department settlement | AP via MSN Money

In October, the Department of Justice announced Samsung agreed to pay a $300 million fine in the antitrust case, but details of the plea remained under wraps. Court documents made public in recent days show Samsung has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to artificially fix prices of DRAM between April 1, 1999 to June 15, 2002. The plea agreement is likely to boost the prospects of Rambus in its patent infringement and price fixing litigation with Samsung.
MSN Money - AP Business News: Rambus Shares Jump on Samsung Disclosure

Justices hear key antitrust case on 'tying' patented products | law.com

The Supreme Court on November 29 seemed ready to hand a victory to patent holders in a closely watched antitrust case that could have a broad impact on intellectual property law. Though justices seemed divided at oral argument in the case Illinois Tool Works v. Independent Ink, they seemed untroubled by the prospect of tossing aside a 58-year-old precedent that puts patent holders at a disadvantage when competitors sue them for antitrust violations."
law.com - Justices Hear Key Antitrust Case on 'Tying' Patented Products

VeriSign and ICANN sued over alleged anti-competitive contract terms | Hearsay.com

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A trade group known as the World Association of Domain Name Developers (WADND) sued VeriSign and ICANN (Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers) on November 28 in the San Jose federal court. WADND alleges VeriSign's proposed registry contract, which would remain in-force through 2012 for '.com' registrations, is anti-competitive. The lawsuit also claims the deal creates a virtual monopoly for VeriSign's '.com' and '.net' registries, allowing it to set fees above market price, and creates an opportunity to extend this monopoly into new markets.
Related Google News

Monday, November 21, 2005

Microsoft expands antitrust training, reviews after music deal flap | post-gazette.com

"WASHINGTON - Microsoft Corp. has pledged to expand legal training for employees and broaden its internal reviews of industry agreements to be sure the company doesn't violate its antitrust settlement with the government. Microsoft's decision, disclosed in court papers, responds to criticism last month from the federal judge overseeing Microsoft's business practices under the agreement. She was upset over a proposal by Microsoft - unlawful under the settlement - to force manufacturers to tether iPod-like devices to Microsoft's own music player software."
Microsoft expands antitrust training, reviews after music deal flap

Friday, November 18, 2005

South Dakota Supreme Court orders recalculation of Microsoft case legal fees | AberdeenNews.com

"PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Legal fees for attorneys who handled antitrust lawsuits against Microsoft Corp. must be recalculated because the fees awarded by a circuit judge were too high, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled on November 17. Circuit Judge Lori Wilbur of Pierre awarded lawyers $2.3 million in legal fees and expenses, but the Supreme Court said the fees must be recalculated using guidelines that will result in lower payments to many of the attorneys."
AP Wire | 11/17/2005 | Supreme Court orders recalculation of Microsoft case legal fees

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

EU opens in-depth probe Into T-Mobile buy of Tele.Ring | Cellular-News.com

"BRUSSELS -(Dow Jones)- The European Commission on November 14 launched an in-depth investigation into T-Mobile Austria's plan to buy rival Tele.Ring Service GmbH. The deal 'may create significant competition problems by removing Tele.Ring as a competitor for (consumers),' the commission found in its initial investigation. 'This takeover is in a strategically important sector in the European economy,' E.U. antitrust chief Neelie Kroes said in a statement."
EU Opens In-depth Probe Into T-Mobile Buy Of Tele.Ring

Monday, November 14, 2005

Microsoft seeks US backing in EU antitrust battle | MSN Money

WASHINGTON, DC (Financial Times) - Microsoft has launched a covert lobbying campaign to persuade the US administration officials and businesses to intervene in its long-running antitrust battle with the European Union. Microsoft officials have met White House and Department of Justice staff and asked them to back the legal challenge launched by the group against last year's landmark antitrust ruling by the European Commission, the EU's executive body.
MSN Money - Financial Times Business News: Microsoft seeks US backing in EU antitrust battle

Friday, November 11, 2005

Microsoft, South Korea's Daum reach anti-trust settlement | CNET News.com

"SEOUL-Microsoft has reached a $30 million settlement with South Korea's Daum over an antitrust suit, but regulators said they will continue to review their case against the world's largest software maker. Shares in Daum Communications, the country's top Web portal operator, jumped nearly 9 percent on November 11 after the two firms announced the agreement, which includes a $10 million cash payment by Microsoft to Daum, $10 million in advertising deals and unspecified business terms worth a further $10 million."
Microsoft, Daum reach settlement | CNET News.com

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Swedish start-up alleges predatory pricing by Microsoft | WSJ.com (subscription required)

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Swedish technology start-up Wellton Way AB has complained to European antitrust regulators about Microsoft predatory pricing practices for its Windows N/T Media Center software.
WSJ.com - Swedish Start-Up Alleges Predatory Pricing by Microsoft

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

FCC approves Verizon acquisition of MCI and SBC acquisition of AT&T | Hearsay.com

WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved, with minor conditions, SBC Communications' $16 billion purchase of AT&T Corp., and Verizon Communications' $8.44 billion takeover of MCI Inc. The conditions are intended to prevent the merged companies from raising rates or denying customers Internet access. The FCC voted 4-0 to sign off on the deals, with Chairman Kevin Martin saying the combined entities will 'create strong global carriers that will vigorously compete both internationally and domestically.' The deals are expected to be completed by year's end.
Related Google News

Monday, October 31, 2005

Ronit Kan to be Israel's next Antitrust chief: Minister admits to female bias when choosing candidates for senior positions | Globes

TEL AVIV - The Israeli cabinet approved Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor foreign trade administration deputy director-general Ronit Kan as the next director general of the Antitrust Authority. At the same time, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and acting Minister of Finance Ehud Olmert was criticized for the way he chose her, using the search committee as a fig leaf.
Globes [online] - Ronit Kan to be next Antitrust Authority chief

Friday, October 28, 2005

Federal judge dismisses request for legal fees in Microsoft case | MercuryNews.com

"BALTIMORE (AP) - A federal judge said on October 28 said he did not have 'anything close to jurisdiction' in the case, adding that, 'I've got better things to do' than to decide whether a group of lawyers should receive more than $24 million in legal fees for their work against Microsoft Corp. in antitrust cases. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz dismissed the case, which was brought by a group of 27 law firms that represented clients in federal court. Those firms were trying to get a share of $79 million in fees that a group of 11 law firms received for state court cases in Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.''
MercuryNews.com | 10/27/2005 | Federal judge dismisses request for legal fees in Microsoft case

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Microsoft threatens to withdraw Windows from South Korean market | Reuters.com

"SEOUL - Microsoft Corp. has threatened to withdraw its Windows software from South Korea if the country's antitrust agency orders it to unbundle its Instant Messenger and Media Player from the operating system. South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has been investigating allegations that the world's top software maker breached antitrust laws by incorporating the services into Windows."
Stock Market News and Investment Information | Reuters.com

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Judge chides Microsoft over exclusive music proposal | MercuryNews.com

"WASHINGTON (AP) - The federal judge overseeing Microsoft Corp.'s business practices scolded the company on October 26 over a proposal to force manufacturers to tether iPod-like devices to Microsoft's own music player software. Microsoft abandoned the idea after a competitor protested. In a rare display of indignation, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly demanded an explanation from Microsoft's lawyers and told them, 'This should not be happening.'"
MercuryNews.com | 10/26/2005 | Judge chides Microsoft over exclusive music proposal

Monday, October 24, 2005

FTC orders hospital group to unwind mergers | TheDeal.com

"The FTC brought the case against Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Corp. after determining that the purchase of Highland Park Hospital resulted in increased costs to consumers and 'substantially lessened competition' in the local market for general acute inpatient services. While the divestiture of a single hospital 'purchased by Evanston for $200 million' isn't likely to cause shock waves through the healthcare industry, a government-ordered sale is significant because it demonstrates clear willingness on the part of antitrust regulators to unwind previously approved deals if harm to consumers is later demonstrated."
TheDeal.com - FTC orders hospital group to unwind mergers

Friday, October 21, 2005

Microsoft backs off exclusive music plan that may have violated anti-trust accord | BostonHerald.com

"Microsoft Corp., already under government scrutiny over its behavior toward competitors, told manufacturers of iPod-like portable audio devices that under a new marketing program they would not be allowed to distribute rivals' music player software - but pulled back after one company protested. The Justice Department said that the incident was 'unfortunate,' but that government lawyers decided to drop the issue because Microsoft agreed 10 days later to change the proposal."
BostonHerald.com - Technology News: Microsoft backs off exclusive music plan

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Judge lets Jets lawsuit proceed accusing Cablevision of antitrust actions | Newsday.com

"NEW YORK - A judge Tuesday let the New York Jets proceed with an antitrust lawsuit alleging Madison Square Garden's owner tried to sabotage the city's chance to host the Olympics in order to protect its control of major sports and entertainment events. The Jets have "adequately alleged that Cablevision's bid constituted a sham" to stop the Jets from constructing a sports and convention center on the rail yard site, Baer wrote. The lawsuit does not allege that Cablevision succeeded in blocking the stadium plans with its bid but charges that the attempt alone violated antitrust laws. U.S. District Judge Harold Baer said that questions about Cablevision Systems Corp.'s unsolicited bid to buy the West Side rail yards were substantial enough to be decided at trial."
Newsday.com: Judge lets Jets lawsuit proceed accusing Cablevision of antitrust actions

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Blackboard's WebCT acquisition faces antitrust snag | TheDeal.com

"Blackboard Inc.'s pending acquisition of rival WebCT Inc. would merge the two largest makers of educational software, leaving a competitive void and potentially sparking antirust concerns. The proposed $180 million cash deal would give the merged company a near monopoly, given Washington-based Blackboard controls roughly 45% to 50% of the U.S. market for software used to conduct college and other school classes, among other functions, over the Internet, while WebCT, of Lynnfield, Mass., holds about 35% to 40%, according to Eduventures Inc. 'Anyway you cut it, you're talking about 65% to 75% of all U.S. institutions,' said Catherine Burdt, an analyst with the Boston educational research firm."
TheDeal.com - Blackboard faces antitrust snag

Friday, October 14, 2005

Adobe's Macromedia buy gets U.S. antitrust clearance | MarketWatch

"LOS ANGELES - Adobe Systems Inc.'s planned acquisition of Macromedia Inc. has won antitrust clearance from U.S. regulators, moving the companies into the homestretch toward closing the $3 billion deal, the firms said on October 13. Adobe, the design-software company behind the nearly ubiquitous Acrobat document sharing software, and Macromedia continue to expect to finalize the transaction sometime in the fall. San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe announced in April the plans to acquire Macromedia, which makes the Flash animation software used to display graphics on Web sites."
Adobe's Macromedia buy gets U.S. antitrust clearance

South Korea regulator: Microsoft probe on | Business Week

"SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's antitrust watchdog said on October 12 it would continue to investigate allegations Microsoft Corp. engaged in unfair trade practices, despite the software giant's settlement of a case with a U.S. rival."
South Korea regulator: Microsoft probe on

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Johnson & Johnson suit claims Amgen sales tactic threatens Procrit, coerces clinics | Yahoo! Finance

"NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - In a bid to protect its best-selling drug, Procrit, a Johnson & Johnson company has charged Amgen Inc. with antitrust violations, claiming that illegal sales practices force cancer doctors to choose its competing anti-anemia drug. 'The result will be less competition, less physician and patient choice and an increased expense to the public health system,' J&J's Ortho Biotech Products LP charged in a lawsuit."
Johnson & Johnson Seeks to Protect Procrit: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Samsung Electronics to pay $300 million for price-fixing | Bloomberg.com

"(Bloomberg) - Samsung Electronics Co. agreed to pay $300 million, the second-largest criminal antitrust fine in U.S. history, to settle charges it took part in a global scheme to fix the price of computer chips used in personal computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices."
Bloomberg.com: Top Worldwide

Symantec won't 'whine' to regulators about Microsoft entry into security space | CNET News.com

"SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft is set to enter the security arena next year, but Symantec won't compete by complaining to antitrust regulators or suing the software giant."
Symantec won't 'whine' about Microsoft | CNET News.com