Antitrust NewsWatch: October 2005

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Microsoft, RealNetworks settle lawsuit | Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"SEATTLE - Digital media company RealNetworks Inc. announced a legal settlement on October 11 with longtime adversary Microsoft Corp., ending the last major antitrust case against the world's largest software maker. RealNetworks said it had reached three deals with Microsoft worth up to $761 million. That includes a $460 million upfront cash payment to settle the antitrust dispute. Another part of the agreement gives RealNetworks an additional $301 million in cash and services designed to help the company's products reach a wider audience. In exchange, RealNetworks agreed to drop all its antitrust claims against Microsoft worldwide." Seattle Post-Intelligencer (AP): A breakdown of the Microsoft-RealNetworks deal
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - Business: Microsoft, RealNetworks settle lawsuit

Microsoft, RealNetworks near settlement of antitrust lawsuit | WSJ.com (subscription required)

"Microsoft Corp. and RealNetworks Inc., for years mortal enemies in the high-tech industry, may be close to burying the hatchet. According to people familiar with the matter, the two companies are nearing a settlement of RealNetworks' long-running antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in a deal valued at about $750 million. Under terms of the settlement, which could still fall through, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft would provide a combination of cash and promotions for RealNetworks music and game services through Microsoft's online services and software, and the two companies would collaborate on technology initiatives in the future, these people said."
WSJ.com - Microsoft, RealNetworks Are Near Settlement Of Antitrust Lawsuit

Monday, October 10, 2005

Supreme Court Won't Hear Antitrust Case Against NCAA | Chronicle of Higher Education

"The two-in-four rule is here to stay. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an antitrust case that challenged the National Collegiate Athletic Association's rule on preseason tournaments. The two-in-four rule allows college basketball teams to participate in no more than two preseason basketball tournaments every four years. Those games do not count against the NCAA's per-college limit of 28 games a year. Instead, an entire tournament counts as only one game."
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Friday, October 07, 2005

Symantec complains to EU anti-trust officers over Microsoft | TechWorld.com

"Symantec has made a complaint against Microsoft to EC anti-trust regulators over the software giant's entry into the security market. The 'informal' complaint allows the Commission to consider whether or not an anti-trust case is merited. The Commission is the executive branch of the European Union (EU). "
Techworld.com - Symantec complains to EU anti-trust officers over Microsoft

AMD v. Intel: More companies subpoenaed | CNET News.com

"Advanced Micro Devices said on October 6 that it served more than 15 companies with subpoenas this week as of part of its antitrust lawsuit against rival Intel. Computer makers and a dozen distributors and retailers--including three companies that hadn't been subpoenaed by AMD before-were served papers as AMD seeks information related to its claims against Intel... Among those receiving requests this week to produce documents were Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lenovo Group, Gateway, Sun Microsystems, NEC and units of Fujitsu, as well as retailers Circuit City and Best Buy."
AMD v. Intel: More companies subpoenaed | CNET News.com

Thursday, October 06, 2005

DOJ amends antitrust lawsuit against National Association of Realtors | RISMedia

"WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice amended the complaint in its antitrust lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors (NAR), charging that the group's modified policy continues to prevent Internet-based real estate brokers from offering better services and lower costs to consumers. The lawsuit challenges NAR rules that limit competition from brokers who use Internet tools to serve their customers. The new complaint addresses how NAR's changes to its rules still obstruct competition, threaten to lock in outmoded business models and inflate prices in the industry."
DOJ amends antitrust lawsuit against NAR

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Roberts and Miers linked to Microsoft | Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and Chief Justice John Roberts have something in common besides being President Bush's picks for the court: As lawyers, each took part in cases involving Microsoft. Miers represented the company in cases including class-action lawsuits in the 1990s that alleged defects in a version of its MS-DOS operating system. Roberts was among the lawyers who argued for the government at a pivotal 2001 appeals court hearing on U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's order to break the company into separate operating entities; an order that was later reversed.
Roberts and Miers linked to Microsoft

Antitrust suit vs. Baby Bells to proceed | San Jose Mercury News

NEW YORK - A federal appeals court on October 3 said an antitrust lawsuit against several of the nation's largest telecommunications providers over whether they conspired to exclude competitors from their home markets should be allowed to go forward. The three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a prior lower-court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit against a group of Baby Bells, including Verizon Communications Inc., BellSouth Corp., Qwest Communications and SBC Communications Inc.
AP Wire | 10/03/2005 | Antitrust suit vs. Baby Bells to proceed