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European Commission clears Facebook's WhatsApp acquisition

10/03, 6:57am

Whatsapp, Facebook deemed "not close competitors" by European regulator

European regulators have given the all-clear on the Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp. Four months after Facebook requested the European Commission to review the acquisition over possible antitrust-related issues, the regulator has determined that Facebook and its own Messenger service is not a "close competitor" of WhatsApp, and has authorized the purchase.

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Anti-Amazon author group petitioning DOJ to examine Hachette conflict

09/25, 9:53am

1,000 authors affected by dispute sending missive to DoJ antitrust head

Amazon's battle with publisher Hachette is continuing, with authors still being affected by the issue. The Authors United group, who previously took out an ad in newspapers decrying treatment by Amazon, is planning to send a letter to the head of the US Justice Department's antitrust division, asking them to look into the matter. Authors attached to the letter include Stephen King, Donna Tartt, Paul Auster, James Patterson, John Grisham, Jennifer Egan, Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt, Joseph O'Neill, Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Barbara Kingsolver, Clive Cussler, Anita Shreve and Philip Pullman.

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China: antitrust actions not targeting international business unfairly

09/11, 7:40am

Qualcomm 'nearly done,' Microsoft well underway

Following international criticism, China's antitrust regulators vigorously defended ongoing antitrust actions. With concern from other nations growing over 30 multinational firms coming under fire for alleged anti-trust activity, the three heads of China's anti-trust regulatory agencies stood fast with their convictions that what they are doing is being accomplished "legally, transparently and fairly," according to China's Premier Li Keqiang.

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European business resistance to EU-Google antitrust agreement growing

09/05, 3:36pm

Microsoft, German publishers demonstrate proposal's inadequacy

A coalition of Microsoft and some German publishing companies have escalated their rhetoric against the European Union's antitrust agreement it is proposing with Google. "The current proposal does not put traffic diversion to an end," claimed Microsoft's chief antitrust lawyer. Microsoft claims to have new evidence it gathered from a modification of Bing's search results that the settlement, and dedicated space for competitive services in search results, would fail to accomplish anything substantial in the case.

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Google's European Commission antitrust settlement meeting resistance

05/24, 12:47pm

French, German commissioners balking, need more from the deal

Despite Google having made "significant concessions" in its eyes to the European Commission anti-trust regulatory agency, at least two commissioners are calling for more from the search engine. Politicians from France and Germany are demanding that Google add more to the package to allow for a more level playing field for European businesses, or scrap the proposal entirely and start from scratch.

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Appeals court considering a halt on second Apple e-book trial

04/25, 7:26pm

States, consumer groups may need to wait until first appeal is heard

The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear Apple's emergency request to overturn Judge Denise Cote's latest denial, and could temporarily halt the efforts of multiple state attorneys general and consumer group to launch a class-action lawsuit against Apple for damages related to its alleged price-fixing conspiracy with publishers. Apple has argued that the class-action should be put on hold while it appeals the original decision.

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Judge in Apple e-book case denies stay of states' class-action suit

04/23, 10:10pm

Latest in long string of denials may be appealed to higher court

Once again, US District Court Judge Denise Cote has denied an Apple motion -- this time asking that the court delay the class-action lawsuit brought by 33 states and various consumer groups while Apple appeals her original guilty verdict in the federal case that alleged Apple led a conspiracy to fix e-book prices. The states are hoping to get further damages from Apple, up to a possible $840 million if the judge triples the damages asked for due to a finding of willful guilt.

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Google fined $166,000 for not complying with India anti-trust agency

03/27, 12:59pm

Fine assessed for failure to provide documentation in a timely manner

Search engine giant Google has been fined 10 million rupee ($166,000) in India. The penalty has been levied by the nation's antitrust investigative body "for failure to comply with the directions given by the Director General (DG) seeking information and documents." The company is under investigation by India's Competition Commission (CCI), and may face $5 billion in fines for abusing its search engine dominance.

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Google facing up to $5 billion fine from India anti-trust regulators

03/11, 11:17am

Indian Competition Commission investigating Google's search behaviors

Adding to Google's antitrust woes worldwide, the company is facing an investigation by India's Competition Commission (CCI) in which it may be found liable for up to $5 billion in fines. The investigation, already underway for three years, is similar to that in other countries in claiming that the search engine giant is abusing its industry-leading position and inserting Google services over those of competitors illicitly.

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Economists argue in Apple's favor in e-book appeal court filing

03/05, 10:58pm

Original judge, DOJ misapplied antitrust law, 'ignored economic evidence'

Two economists from CalTech and NYU have filed an amicus curae ("friend of the court") brief that makes powerful arguments for a reversal of the verdict in the original bench trial overseen by Judge Denise Cote. Across more than 30 pages, they tell the appeals court that fundamental concepts of antitrust law and crucial economic evidence and reasoning were "disregarded" by the judge.

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Court: Antitrust monitor Bromwich stays, but with more limitations

02/10, 7:27pm

Apple had wanted monitor suspended while appeal goes forward

Apple on Monday lost its bid to halt or replace court-appointed antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich, a friend of trial Judge Denise Cote which the company had strenuously objected to for a variety of reasons. The court, while rejecting Apple's claim that Bromwich's "overreaching" and obnoxious behavior was causing the company "irreparable harm," did set stronger limits on Bromwich's activities -- curtailing most of what Apple had objected to.

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Google reaches online search agreement with European Commission

02/05, 8:04am

Search results proposal acceptance ends three-year antitrust investigation

The European Commission has settled with Google over its antitrust allegations for anti-competitive behavior in search. The tentative agreement between the search company and the regulator will see Google display the search results from competing services, among other proposals for promoting other companies, in order to put the three-year antitrust investigation to an end.

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Apple files formal notice of appeal on external compliance monitor

01/17, 7:54pm

Will fight Bromwich appointment, 'roving' investigation, excessive fees and qualifications

Apple has officially filed for an appeal of US District Judge Denise Cote's recent decision, which denied both Apple's request to suspend an antitrust external compliance monitor (ECM) while an appeal of the main judgement is considered, and a request to disqualify the current appointee, Judge Cote's personal friend and former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich.

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Judge: Apple's objections prove need for e-book antitrust monitor

01/16, 6:51pm

Logic-defying ruling may inadvertently aid Apple's appeal

Following on from an initial ruling on Monday that ignored Apple's objections, US Federal Judge Denise Cote reinterated her denial of Apple's request for either suspension of a court-appointed antitrust monitor during appeal or at least the replacement of former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich as the monitor in a 64-page ruling. "If anything, Apple's reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition," she wrote.

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Apple loses bid to delay or oust antitrust monitor

01/13, 5:36pm

Likely to file emergency appeal to different judge

The same judge who appointed a personal friend with no experience in antitrust compliance, and who had pre-announced Apple's likely guilt ahead of its trial against the Department of Justice over alleged e-book price fixing, has denied the iPhone maker's request to stay the implementation of its antitrust monitor pending appeal. In her ruling, US District Judge Denise Cote also rebuffed Apple's request to disqualify Michael Bromwich, her appointment to the job.

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Apple formally requests removal of Bromwich as court enforcer

01/08, 2:14am

Controversial 'monitor' shows himself to be biased, Apple argues

Apple has filed a formal request with the same judge that appointed the antitrust compliance monitor to have him removed, citing a wide range of complaints and accusations of overreach -- including the monitor's own recent declarations, which the company says prove a pre-existing bias. Former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich was a controversial choice for the post due to his lack of antitrust experience and personal relationship with the judge, among other problems and conflicts of interest.

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Anti-trust monitor Bromwich reiterates claims in rebuttal

12/31, 2:00am

Cites previous experience, but had to hire anti-trust assistant

Michael Bromwich, a friend of Judge Denise Cote and her appointed antitrust monitor ordered to review changes to Apple's antitrust policies, reiterates in his latest legal brief in a war of words with Apple that the company has been "uncooperative" with regards to his extra-legal investigations and denying Apple's claim that he was conducting a "broad and amorphous inquisition" that had little to do with Apple's e-book business.

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Google antitrust proposals rejected by European Union officials

12/20, 12:45pm

Google warned of lack of time before European Commission decides fate

European Union antitrust officials have declared that Google's offer to modify its search results do not go far enough to settle complaints about anti-competitive behavior. A change of heart from what was said in October, the decision by the European Commission (EC) comes with a warning that it is short of time to offer a better solution, and could end up receiving fines of up to $5 billion.

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WSJ tears into Apple e-book trial judge for 'abusive' missteps

12/06, 8:09pm

Call appointment of personal friend as antitrust monitor 'flatly unconstitutional'

In a new editorial that could have been written by Apple's legal team in a candid moment, the Wall Street Journal rakes Apple e-book trial judge over the coals for both recent and previous missteps, from "essentially [ruling] before hearing the evidence" to appointing a personal friend with no experience in antitrust issues (and requiring an $1,000-per-hour assistant) as an inquisitor who believes his job is to "investigate Apple all over again" in an unconstitutional manner.

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Apple objects to e-book monitor's $69K/week pay, interview demands

11/29, 12:47pm

Compliance monitor returns fire in letter to board

Apple has filed a formal objection against the compliance monitor in the recent e-book price-fixing lawsuit, crying foul over the attorney's alleged $69,000 weekly fees. The company's legal team also claims the monitor, Michael Bromwich, has exceeded his authority by demanding interviews with board members and executives, such as design head Jony Ive and board member Al Gore, who are not involved in the business unit affected by the court decision.

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Samsung proposes five-year patent lawsuit ceasefire to avoid $18B fine

10/17, 10:44am

Proposal sees Samsung avoiding standard-essential patent lawsuits

The European Commission is requesting feedback on an offer by Samsung to stop suing other device manufacturers over specific types of patents. The proposal would prevent Samsung from suing over standard-essential patents (SEPs) for a five-year period, in order to cease the antitrust proceedings it is embroiled in, and to avoid a potential fine from the EC of $18.3 billion.

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Judge names compliance monitor in Apple e-book antitrust case

10/16, 9:30pm

Former DoJ Inspector General chosen for role

As expected, a New York judge has appointed an external monitor to ensure Apple's compliance with a recent antitrust injunction related to e-book price fixing. As noted by CNET, Judge Denise Cote has chosen former Assistant US Attorney and Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich to work directly with Apple for two years to watch for additional antitrust violations.

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Google offer to tweak search results mollifies EU antitrust officials

10/01, 9:54am

Move may help avoid $5B fine

European Union antitrust officials have voiced satisfaction with Google's latest offer to modify its search results. The EU's Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, issued a statement suggesting the company has finally addressed all areas of concern, improving the list of concessions beyond its July offer that received "very negative" feedback and was subsequently dismissed by the agency.

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Google submits second proposal to avoid EU antitrust fine

09/09, 8:44am

European Commission assesses offer

Google has reportedly submitted a second proposal to the European Commission, offering to change its practices to avoid a potential $5 billion fine. The filing follows an earlier proposal that was also aimed at easing antitrust concerns, which focus on Google's prioritization of its own search services over competing services, though the initial concessions were dismissed as insufficient by EU regulators and competitors.

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European Commission requests new search result proposals from Google

07/17, 12:35pm

Proposals to end antitrust probe are 'not enough' states Competition head

A proposal by Google to alter its search results does not go far enough to minimize antitrust issues, according to the European Commission (EC). Joaquin Almunia, the European Competition Commissioner believes that the proposals submitted in April by the search giant are "not enough to overcome our concerns," and requests for Google to resubmit with some improvements.

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Report: US FTC considering additional Google antitrust investigation

05/23, 8:30pm

2007 acquisition of advertising company DoubleClick at core of complaint

According to sources discovered by both Reuters and Bloomberg, US regulators are looking into the possibility of a new antitrust probe against Google. This new action would investigate complaints that the search engine breaks laws in how it markets and sells some advertising across the Internet.

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European Commission seeks Google search proposal comments

04/25, 10:19am

Feedback requested on search labeling agreement

The European Commission has opened itself up to comments from Google's competitors, concerning how the search giant should display links to rival services next to its own. The feedback request comes after Google struck a deal with the EC to end its two-year antitrust investigation into its search practices, with the agreement including a number of concessions in search results and other products.

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Google settles with European Commission over antitrust probe

04/15, 11:28am

Google agrees to label search results, links to competitors

Google has struck a deal with the European Commission, in order to end a two-year antitrust investigation into its search practices, according to a report. The legally binding agreement will see Google clearly labeling any search results that come up for its own products and services, and in some instances, providing links from competing search engines.

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EU Antitrust chief: Google diverts traffic, must change

01/11, 9:50pm

Almunia critical of FTC settlement, restates previous position

According to the European Union's antitrust chairman Joaquin Almunia, Google should face antitrust charges for "diverting traffic," and should be required to change the way that it returns search results to users. Almunia suggested that Google make it apparent to users that the service is using its own services to tailor search results, and does not give equal billing in search results to competitors.

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EU regulators: FTC decision won't affect our case

01/04, 2:38pm

EU sees no direct implications for case from FTC settlement

The recent decision by the United States' Federal Trade Commission to close its antitrust probe of Google's business practices will not sway European regulators, who are also investigating the search industry leader's dealings. Executives at the European Commission, the body investigating Google, say they've taken note of the FTC's decision but don't see any direct implications for their own investigation and discussions with Google.

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FTC pressures Google to resolve antitrust issues

11/13, 2:03pm

Google hit with ultimatum: settle or face lawsuit

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly pressuring search giant Google to resolve the issues in the agency's antitrust probe within the next few days or face a lawsuit. The FTC is concerned that Google is abusing its position as the world's dominant search engine, using its position to place its own services above those of competitors. The agency has reportedly been in negotiations with Google for some weeks now, and an antitrust lawsuit is a real possibility should Google prove unwilling or unable to make an acceptable proposal to the FTC.

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Reuters: FTC nearing Google antitrust case

10/12, 4:17pm

Google's search market practices under the microscope

The Federal Trade Commission may be preparing to level an antitrust case against search giant Google, alleging that the company has illegally used its dominance of the search market to crowd out rivals. This according to Reuters, which cites sources familiar with the FTC's examination of Google in saying that a case may be forthcoming. Reportedly, the majority of the higher up decision makers at the FTC believe that an antitrust case should be brought, and a decision may be made as early as November or December.

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Korea investigates Samsung amid Apple antitrust accusations

09/07, 2:57pm

Legal war continues to expand

South Korean authorities have reportedly opened in investigation into Samsung's business practices, following antitrust complaints from rival Apple. The iPhone maker has accused its Korean rival of abusing its dominant position in the wireless technology market.

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Apple, publishers reach deal to avoid EU e-book charges

08/31, 11:00am

Allows Amazon to discount e-books for two years

Apple and four of the five major publishing companies have offered to allow retailers such as Amazon to discount e-books for up to two years, part of a deal that could end an EU antitrust investigation that mirrors the case being brought against Apple and two publishing houses in the US. Only one publisher, Pearson's Penguin group, was not part of the sweeping EU arrangement, which could see Amazon regaining its monopoly position in the e-book market.

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EU demands significant changes to Google mobile services

07/19, 10:58pm

Talks said to be on 'knife edge'

European Union antitrust regulators have reportedly demanded significant changes to Google's mobile services to avoid potential punishments for anti-competitive practices. The company is said to be in talks with EU competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia over a potential settlement to avoid penalties, however a Financial Times report suggests the negotiations may be on the "knife edge."

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Toshiba socked with $87 million fine for LCD price fixing

07/04, 1:00am

Toshiba sole defendant, co-conspirators settled previously

After two days of deliberations, a California jury has decreed that Toshiba is guilty of conspiracy involving other Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese LCD manufacturers to keep prices artificially high on LCD panels between 1999 and 2006. Under the findings of the jury, Toshiba is liable for $87 million in damages -- $17 million to businesses and $70 million to consumers. Under antitrust law, defendants can be assessed damages of three times the jury's ruling, or $261 million. Toshiba was the sole remaining defendant in the suit, and claimed to have done nothing wrong.

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Google offers to settle with EU antitrust regulators

07/02, 3:46pm

Terms of negotiation remain unclear

Google has reportedly offered to engage in settlement talks with European Union regulators, in an attempt to avoid a formal legal dispute over lingering antitrust issues. The search giant's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, is said to have sent a letter to EU antitrust commissioner Joaqu Almunia, addressing several concerns that remain focal points in an investigation that could lead to penalties.

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Microsoft loses EC antitrust appeal, fine reduced to $1.07B

06/27, 5:00pm

Second-highest court in Europe rules against Microsoft

Microsoft has lost an appeal against a European Commission decision over its business practices. The General Court, Europe's second-highest, denied the appeal of the 2008 fine, which saw Microsoft faced a fine of 899 million Euros ($1.35 billion at the time, $1.12 billion now) for violating existing antitrust sanctions. This has been cut to 860 million Euros ($1.07 billion) due to Microsoft being permitted by the Commission to apply "restrictions concerning the distribution of 'open source' products" up to September 17, 2007, according to Reuters.

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DOJ investigates cable providers over Netflix complaints

06/13, 6:59pm

iTunes, Hulu, Netflix traffic allegedly discriminated against

The Justice Department is allegedly in the midst of a large-scale antitrust investigation focusing on potentially anticompetitive practices by cable companies that compete with online video purveyors such as Apple's iTunes store, Hulu, or Netflix. Regulators are said to be attempting to determine if Comcast violated a net-neutrality agreement to not discriminate against competitors that send data through its Internet service to reach customers, though the broad probe is claimed to involve other cable companies.

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Google founders to face antitrust questioning

06/08, 8:58pm

Brin, Page to appear for FTC depositions

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the co-founders of Google, will appear before US antitrust regulators for questioning, sources familiar with the proceedings have told Bloomberg. The two Google executives have retained counsel, and are expected to give depositions before the Federal Trade Commission some time in the next few months.

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EU threatens Google with antitrust fines over search results

05/21, 2:57pm

Search giant asked to address issues

European Union antitrust regulators have threatened Google with fines and a formal antitrust lawsuit if the search giant does not move to resolve lingering concerns. European Commission vice president JoaquAn Alumnia has found evidence of anticompetitive wrongdoing, however regulators are enabling the company to make a "commitment decision" as an alternative to litigation and a potential fine.

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Simon & Schuster settles with states in price fixing suit

05/17, 10:15pm

Federal complaint dropped, civil suit pending

One of the defendants dealing with multiple antitrust lawsuits has settled the overall complaint filed by many states' attorneys general. As a result, Judge Denise Cote granted a motion on Tuesday to dismiss Simon & Schuster from the federal complaint. The terms of the settlement have not been provided.

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EU reaffirms Google antitrust probe, but "not in a rush"

05/04, 10:41am

Timeframe for resolution remains unclear

European Union officials have reaffirmed their commitment to an ongoing Google antitrust investigation, however regulators have hinted that the probe may take much longer to complete. In a statement provided to , EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia admitted that "we are not there yet."

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Google calls Apple's Siri a possible threat in search

11/06, 4:20am

Google claims Siri poses competitive threat

Google chairman Eric Schmidt has told a U.S. Senate antitrust subcommittee that Apple’s Siri personal assistant is a potential threat to its core search business. The admission reverses a statement that Schmidt made in September last year where he had said that Apple did not pose a ‘competitive threat.’ Schmidt argued that the arrival of Siri is a ‘significant threat’ and even cited two publications that have called the voice recognition app a ‘Google killer.’

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AT&T/T-Mobile antitrust trial scheduled to begin February 13

09/21, 6:05pm

Judge refuses to consolidate cases

The Department of Justice lawsuit against the proposed AT&T buyout of T-Mobile has finally received a solid schedule, with trial proceedings to officially begin on February 13. Judge Ellen Huvelle allocated six weeks for the trial, however lawyers representing both sides reportedly claimed that such a length would not prove necessary.

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US gov't. files complaint to block AT&T, T-Mobile merger

08/31, 11:45am

Would remove 'significant' competition from market

The US Justice Department has sued to block AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile, Bloomberg reports. A Washington, DC court filing charges that the absorption of T-Mobile would violate antitrust laws. "AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low-priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market," the document reads.

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Lawsuit accuses record labels of price fixing

07/20, 11:45pm

Judge approves class-action status

US District Jude Loretta Preska has allowed a class-action lawsuit against RIAA music labels to continue forward. The lawsuit, which accuses major labels of conspiring to fix prices for digital music distribution, will be pursued under the Sherman Act to explore potential antitrust violations of federal law. Similar antitrust actions under New York state law will also be investigated, as well as other claims related to consumer protection and unjust enrichment.

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Google hires prosecutor from Microsoft antitrust proceedings

06/28, 8:50pm

Search giant facing antitrust investigation

Google has reportedly hired a former US Department of Justice attorney, Jeffrey Blattner, who served as a prosecutor for the government's antitrust actions against Microsoft more than a decade ago. The antitrust specialist is said to be one of several Google representatives present at an American Antitrust Institute (AAI) meeting, where the search giant is said to have defended its search system amid accusations of anticompetitive behavior.

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Google pays $500m for DOJ antitrust investigation

05/10, 10:20pm

Charge brings net income down to $1.8 billion

Google has submitted a revised 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, revealing a $500 million charge associated with a Department of Justice investigation. Although the search giant did not formally announce any issues with the DoJ, the filing suggests the money is being set aside to accommodate a "potential resolution" to an investigation over advertising.

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Lawsuit targets anti-poaching agreements between tech giants

05/04, 4:00pm

Apple, Adobe, Google, Lucasfilm included in suit

Former Lucasfilm employee Siddharth Hariharan has filed a lawsuit against a long list of tech companies, accusing the group of conspiring to limit compensation for key staff. Joseph Saveri, the attorney representing Hariharan, claims the "no solicitation" agreements, which prohibit companies from poaching employees from competitors, violate antitrust laws. The list of accused companies includes Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar.

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