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DOJ Nixes Lax Policy, Hardens Antitrust Enforcement 249

Posted by kdawson
from the new-sheriff-in-town dept.
eldavojohn writes "A policy from the Bush era seen as a hurdle to the government prosecuting companies under antitrust laws has been withdrawn by Obama's Department of Justice. From the article: 'The DOJ's Antitrust Division has withdrawn a September report that "raised too many hurdles to government antitrust enforcement and favored extreme caution" toward antitrust enforcement action, the DOJ said. The change in policy could mean that the department looks harder at the actions of technology vendors such as Google, Oracle and IBM, as detractors have raised antitrust concerns about all three in recent months.' You may recall that Google has come under some antitrust scrutiny recently and the pressure may have just gotten a little more intense."
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DOJ Nixes Lax Policy, Hardens Antitrust Enforcement

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  • Neat (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:31PM (#27915969) Homepage
    Can we finally have Microsoft cut in two now, please?
    • Re:Neat (Score:4, Funny)

      by evolx10 (679412) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:37PM (#27916025)
      Microsoft is like the broom from that Disney thing that mickey mousekinson chopped up with an axe, Microsoft must be burnt in a plasma furnace to remove all essence of suck.
    • by portscan (140282)

      yawn...microsoft is so last century.

    • Re:Neat (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:02PM (#27916737) Homepage Journal

      Cut in two? Not enough. The browser needs to go, simple as that. DirectX needs to be torn out, and put into competition against things like OpenGL. The office suite needs to be ripped out of the hands of the operating system people, and any future collusion absolutely prohibited. Take out the silly chat program, and make it earn it's own way. Turn Microsoft's portfolio into a damned paper doll. Competition might actually IMPROVE the various products. Those that don't improve can die out and be trashed. It isn't entirely a matter of making "Microsoft" competitive, but making each of Microsoft's products competitive.

      • Re:Neat (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dhavleak (912889) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:25PM (#27916921)

        The browser needs to go, simple as that.

        Why does the browser need to go?
        What is preventing you from using a different browser?

        DirectX needs to be torn out, and put into competition against things like OpenGL.

        What prevents an OEM from providing Open GL drivers on Windows?
        What is to say that without DirectX we would have seen Open GL v3.x?

        The office suite needs to be ripped out of the hands of the operating system people, and any future collusion absolutely prohibited.

        What is the collusion of which you speak?
        What synergy do you see between Office and Windows, that disadvantages say Open Office?

        Take out the silly chat program, and make it earn it's own way.

        I assume you mean MSN messenger? Check out the Win7 RC -- already done.

        Turn Microsoft's portfolio into a damned paper doll. Competition might actually IMPROVE the various products.

        Because you care about improving things, right? Yeah, I totally got that from your post.

        • Re:Neat (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday May 11, 2009 @10:08PM (#27917289) Homepage Journal

          Obviously, there is something about "monopoly" and "unfair trade practice" that you fail to understand. MS attempts to present the world with a monolithic operating system, with such claims as "the browser is an integral part of the OS", thereby using that monolithic structure to crush competition.

          If, A: you don't understand that, you should read history outside of MS approved sources.

          If, B: you are just trolling as an MS fanboi, no amount of explanation is going to change your mind

          If, C: you really WOULD like to see MS actually make constructive contributions to computer science, as opposed to just enriching it's current stockholders, you should agree with me. Breaking up Microsoft, and forcing each division to act independently, will almost certainly make each of the divisions more standards compliant. Interoperability will improve unbelievably, because IE, for instance, won't have the wealth of the other divisions to draw on. It is only that wealth, and the stubborness of MS, that has prevented IE from being standards compliant in the past.

          MS Office was nothing more than a bludgeon used by MS to re-write standards in a manner difficult to copy by other office suites last year, remember? MS reps waltzed into the conference, paid off a few people, and bullied the rest into signing off on a new standard. Phhht. As a seperate corporation, they could never have pulled that off.

          Maybe MS Office really IS the best office system in the world - but it should stand on it's own merits, and not rely on all the rest of the MS monopoly.

          What we have today really sucks. And, because so few people can even imagine how much better things COULD BE, they think that they are happy with it.

          Your sarcasm is noted. There IS NO sarcasm in my post, here or above. I do care about improving things. I am quite certain that MS only cares about lining their pockets.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by dhavleak (912889)

            I'll take D - "none of the above" :)

            you really WOULD like to see MS actually make constructive contributions to computer science, as opposed to just enriching it's current stockholders, you should agree with me.

            Enriching it's shareholders requires continuously improving products (which is done through research and developement based on that research). The ribbon is a recent and visible example of that, from the product group you were referencing. (recycling electrons [msdn.com]). You might contend that MS is up to all kinds of nefarious activities to enrich it's shareholders. There's many things to be said about that. First, it's debatable. Second, if they break the law in anyway, there

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Runaway1956 (1322357)

              "Enriching it's shareholders requires " only that sales are made. FUD makes a large number of sales.

              "But any modern OS is incomplete without a browser. If you were to break up the company, you would have to include the browser in the OS unit." Wrong. Redhat doesn't make a browser, nor does Suse, Debian, or any of the other Linux OS's. A web browser is not necessary for an operating system to operate, period. There are any number of methods by which MS could offer a CHOICE of browsers, including the met

              • by drsmithy (35869)

                Redhat doesn't make a browser, nor does Suse, Debian, or any of the other Linux OS's.

                They don't make OSes, either, so that's hardly a compelling argument.

                A web browser is not necessary for an operating system to operate, period.

                99% of the code that comes with an OS is not necessary for it to operate. Everything from the network stack to the command line are completely unnecessary.

                That, however, does not imply they are unwanted.

                There are any number of methods by which MS could offer a CHOICE of brow

              • by dhavleak (912889)

                These arguments have been rehashed many times, but I guess once more won't hurt.

                "Enriching it's shareholders requires " only that sales are made. FUD makes a large number of sales.

                Same is true of a giant corporation, a smaller company, or even a FOSS product. Office being independent of windows does not preclude them from using FUD. Enriching shareholders still only requires that sales get made - no matter the size of the company. As I said earlier - nefarious activities are not the sole domain of large corporations.

                Wrong. Redhat doesn't make a browser, nor does Suse, Debian, or any of the other Linux OS's.

                Every consumer linux flavor (indeed every consumer OS) provides a browser. None of these l

          • by PCM2 (4486)

            Maybe MS Office really IS the best office system in the world - but it should stand on it's own merits, and not rely on all the rest of the MS monopoly.

            I don't completely understand this comment. I have used OpenOffice.org, KOffice, AbiWord, Lotus Symphony, and Google Docs, and not one of them has persuaded me to quit using Microsoft Office. You're welcome to read/write my .doc files using any of the above if you prefer, but I am going to continue to allow myself to be bludgeoned by an unfair monopoly, as you put it -- as do a whole lot of other people. How is that not "standing on its own merits"?

        • by tsm_sf (545316)
          What is the collusion of which you speak?
          What synergy do you see between Office and Windows, that disadvantages say Open Office?


          Classic astroturf moment.
          • Do you suppose that MS Office does NOT have access to the most up-to-date source? And, advance warning when some new "feature" might break something?

            Let's say that a change in some API will break OpenOffice - when does OOo find out about it? Probably when OOo users complain, then they have to research, and find a fix.

            Let's say that the same change in the same API will break something in MS Office. When do THEY find out about it? About 6 months before it is ever released to the public as a beta. That is

            • by drsmithy (35869)

              Do you suppose that MS Office does NOT have access to the most up-to-date source? And, advance warning when some new "feature" might break something?

              Yes. Perhaps they might get marginally more than anyone else, but certainly not enough to matter in product cycles that last nearly a decade.

              Let's say that a change in some API will break OpenOffice - when does OOo find out about it? Probably when OOo users complain, then they have to research, and find a fix.

              No, they find out when that API is deprecated,

            • by dhavleak (912889)

              Do you suppose that MS Office does NOT have access to the most up-to-date source?

              I honestly can't even image why they would need/want such access. Office suites do not use some advanced OS functionality that requires say low-level OS constructs etc. In fact, each Office version is available for multiple versions of windows, so if anything, they probably write abstraction layers on top of the windows APIs to make life easier for themselves.

              And, advance warning when some new "feature" might break something?

              I think you might have put the cart in front of the horse in this analysis :). Applications like Office, Firefox, Photoshop, Adobe Reader, Flash, et

        • Nobody is saying you should get rid of direct X, the problem is that you can only use directX on windows, which provides an anticompetetive effect, anybody who wants to program their game for directX will have a harder time porting to a different OS.

          The problem with the browser was never that it was included (Netscape was free after all), it was that IE didn't follow the standards *and* was included. You couldn't use activeX without having a windows server, and the way of doing things was changed even by p

    • Doubtful [opensecrets.org]
    • I'd rather see them pursue and split the cable company Television division from the telcomm. This has more impact on my usage than MS's operating system.
  • Now would be a good time to break them up, as should have been done before. Why wont it happen? Because hoards of Microsoft lawyers now have jobs with the Obama administration.

    End result? , lets go after anyone Microsoft doesn't like, as in Google.

    Please notice that I did not use "M$" in the body of this post. The use of "M$" inflaes the paid Microsoft shills that seem to hang out here.

    • Microsoft is still going to feel the anti-trust wrath, but they are trying to share the anti-trust wealth that they have been "enjoying". I wouldn't be surprised if the biggest Microsoft Zune competitor (Apple's ipod) got some anti-trust charges in addition to IBM and Google. If anything, by subjecting the competitors to a flame that Microsoft has built up years of resistance against, it will help Microsoft.
      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:54PM (#27916157)
        I don't really get why Apple, Google or IBM would get any anti-trust charges. Apple now has made iTunes DRM free, uses open (if not patented) standards for audio codecs, etc. Apple isn't trying to be abusive in the market unlike MS. The iPhone, while closed, could use a bit of opening but I still don't see it being a monopoly, sure, the restrictions are bad, but its not like you can't get an Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile or Blackberry device and get about the same applications/experience.

        Google isn't abusive either, sure they have expanded rapidly, but they haven't been destroying the competition. Now if they redirected all searches of Yahoo to "Did you mean Google?" sure, but not presently.

        IBM has also opened up in recent years to fully embracing OSS. Sure, soem things are proprietary, but in 2009 IBM isn't a monopoly like back in the '70s and '80s.
        • while I wish that the license used by a company could preclude them from monopolistic policies, there may be an alternate dimension where the GPL is used by a monopoly and is preventing closed source software is unable to compete. Simply being open source or favoring open source does not matter one whit in the eyes of an anti-trust hearing. Its all about what you do with massive market share. AT&T could have open sourced their phones and switches, but they would have still been broken up for preventing
          • while I wish that the license used by a company could preclude them from monopolistic policies, there may be an alternate dimension where the GPL is used by a monopoly and is preventing closed source software is unable to compete. Simply being open source or favoring open source does not matter one whit in the eyes of an anti-trust hearing. Its all about what you do with massive market share. AT&T could have open sourced their phones and switches, but they would have still been broken up for preventing competition.

            With open source though, you are not the sole provider of the software, so an abusive monopoly is impossible to create unless no one cares, if no one cares you obviously aren't abusive enough.

            Being a monopoly means that you use the weight of an existing consumer base to prevent competition. Microsoft could say that because apple has such control over the portable mp3 market, their linking of itunes is preventing other stores from accessing that customer base. (like linking IE to windows)

            That really doesn't work because A) There are loads of MP3 players available, Apple's really isn't that unique, they aren't the cheapest, etc. B) iTunes isn't on most computers by default, it has to be manually installed C) Other stores can easily compete by being cheaper/better, if iTunes is such a monopoly then w

            • by TinBromide (921574) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:15PM (#27916861)
              Summary and take-away message. If you own a dominant position in the market and you abuse that position to exclude competition, you open yourself up to a monopoly hearing. It doesn't matter what's possible, what alternatives exist, if you're open source or royalty free, but if you own a dominant position in the market and you abuse that position to exclude competition, you open yourself up to a monopoly hearing. (I'll put this again at the end in case people miss it)

              I really wish you were correct. If red hat was the sole provider of support contracts for operating systems and they used their reputation/massive base to exclude 3rd party support, they could be hit. Its all about being dominant and using that dominance to exclude competitors. Simply because something is theoretically possible (users could install netscape and make it default in windows 9x. It wasn't hard, I did it.) isn't enough to prevent that monopoly hearing. The judges don't care about standards, they don't care about royalty-free, they don't care about whether or not there CAN be competition, they only care about what there is. Not all judges are as idealistic as the average slashdot reader.

              Other companies COULD have run wires or used ham radio to provide telephone service, but they didn't. There WERE other browsers besides IE. Most of the time, an anti-monopoly suit is brought by competition in the field that the competitor is being forced out of. If Company A didn't have the majority of the install base and a competitor would have been able to survive, then Company A is abusing a monopoly which opens them up for lawsuits. While there's a fine line between the court protecting a companies ability to make money, they will also respect when a company is unable to compete because of monopolistic practices.

              if no one cares you obviously aren't abusive enough.

              Bingo. There is nothing to prevent you from making a superwidget and owning 100% share of the superwidget market. The second that you start forcing competitors out of the superwidget market with something other than properly applied patents, copyright, or trademark law, then you've just abused your monopoly. If you start forcing competitors out (say by refusing to do business with companies that sell a potential competitor), then you've just opened yourself up to a lawsuit. Also, you're allowed to improve or introduce a new product line to "stop" (capitalists would call it "compete with") a competitors product. If IE had continued to be a stand-alone product or optional at install, there may not have been a case. However, if it was optional at install or stand-alone and Microsoft told HP that they would stop selling windows at OEM prices to HP if they bundled Netscape, that would have been an abuse of the monopoly.

              While i know wikipedia is not a legal dictionary, its a good referance on some subjects and doesn't reference open source or most of the things you've mentioned. [wikipedia.org] However, it does mention product bundling which could tie itunes and the ipod together. That could get in the way of ipod users playing zune music or the Zune Store selling ipod DRM'd music. The lack of willingness to license Freeplay to competitors could actually open Apple up to a hearing.

              Also, you don't even need a majority in the EU to be a monopoly, the article above says that one company had 39% market share, but if you're dominant, you can still hold a monopoly.

              Summary and take-away message. If you own a dominant position in the market and you abuse that position to exclude competition, you open yourself up to a monopoly hearing. It doesn't matter what's possible, what alternatives exist, if you're open source or royalty free, but if you own a dominant position in the market and you abuse that position to exclude competition, you open yourself up to a monopoly hearing.

            • by nxtw (866177)

              It wasn't the fact that it was just a browser, it was also a browser that managed to be annoyingly incompatible with standards. Not to mention was created specifically to stop Netscape.

              Did you use the internet a decade ago? Back in the late, Netscape Navigator sucked compared to the IE versions available at the time. IE4's support for the HTML DOM and CSS were much better than Navigator 4's. Both companies frequently ingored standards and created their own, and many times this actually was good. Remembe

              • Very true.

                The first browser I ever used was Mosaic on a Solaris workstation. I used it to preview the first site I ever built. After that, on Windows, Netscape Navigator became my browser of choice until about 4.6? It's been a while so I may be off on the version number.

                I remember the day I switched my default browser to IE. I felt very sad and let down. It was probably in early to mid '99. It didn't have anything to do with web standards though. The problem for me was that it would crash or hang frequentl

        • by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:29PM (#27916455)
          I don't really get why Apple, Google or IBM would get any anti-trust charges.

          Don't be silly, of *course* Google is a monopoly! When people google, who do they use? Google. Google has a complete monopoly when it comes to googling. That's why we have to split the company in two. I propose the creation of two companies, "Go" and "Ogle". Or perhaps "Goo" and "Gle", or even "G" and "Oogle". Anyhow you get my point.

          • When people google, who do they use? Google. Google has a complete monopoly when it comes to googling.

            Kind of amazing Google hasn't tried to stop people from using "google" as a verb. After all, you were trying to be funny, but Xerox was forced to stop people from "xeroxing" to make the verb no longer under their monopoly, else they would have been split from it.

            • by belmolis (702863)

              You're right about why Xerox tried, but in fact people continue to use "xerox" as a generic verb for "photocopy" and yet Xerox has not lost its trademark.

              • in fact people continue to use "xerox" as a generic verb for "photocopy" and yet Xerox has not lost its trademark.

                Some people do, sure. But they've been pretty good about getting TV shows/movies/etc. to use "copy" and "copier" instead of "xerox" and "xerox machine"

        • >Apple now has made iTunes DRM free, uses open (if not patented) standards for audio codecs, etc.

          If the AAC codec is as open as, say, WMA, how come other audio players don't include it? I was looking at an ad for a cheap player from Coby that had OGG fer Chrissake. ...and WMA. How come no AAC? With all those iPod users out there and all their ready-to-go AAC files, why wouldn't all iPod competitors support AAC?

          Is Microsoft just giving away their WMA 'intellectual property'. Or is Apple (or whoever ho

        • Google isn't abusive either, sure they have expanded rapidly, but they haven't been destroying the competition. Now if they redirected all searches of Yahoo to "Did you mean Google?" sure, but not presently.

          True. Search for "search engines" on Google. The first link in the results is a news article about the Wolfram Alpha. In results further down, live.com is listed ahead of google.com. When I click on the "list of search engines" link at the top, I get a page that lists yahoo.com, but *does not* list google.com.

          Seems reasonable.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SL Baur (19540)

            Heh. I should have continued. A similar search on live.com yields *no* results for Google. None.

            Oh really?

            • Heh. I should have continued. A similar search on live.com yields *no* results for Google. None.

              Oh really?

              It seems to be specifically looking for pages that describe themselves as "search engines", which Google doesn't do (but e.g. Yahoo does). If you just search for "search", you'll see Google above Live Search (but below Yahoo).

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Why wouldn't they? Nobody in their right mind would allow the top two businesses in a market merge, which is justification in and of itself to break up Google. Sometimes a company being large enough is in and of itself an undo burden on trade.

          As for Apple, it doesn't matter whether or not they're DRMed, the fact is that the format they use is nonstandard and represents a barrier to other manufacturers competing with them.

          There's obviously more two it in both directions, but it's not exactly hard to see why

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      ...And what good would breaking up MS do? What needs to happen is A) Laws allowing you to return bundled software for free for a refund with no hassle B) Enforcing open standards, and open source in government C) requiring that technology education for public high schools be platform independent D) Repeal the DMCA so DRM can be broken

      If you take these sane steps, MS will wither, on the other hand breaking up MS is A) Anti-capitalism and B) Won't work to stop its monopoly, only create smaller ones.
      • by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Monday May 11, 2009 @08:04PM (#27916245)

        Microsoft would had never had the money to launch the XBox as a successful invasion of the video game market if it were not for the combined cash cow monopolies of Windows and Office. (And ironically, if they hadn't been able to move in on the video game market at that time, then the Halo series would have stayed on the Mac platform.)

        Breaking up Microsoft might not be worth the effort today, but then again, having a natural monopoly has never been the (legal) issue. It's abusing that monopoly to take over other markets that is illegal, and it certainly is necessary to make sure that Microsoft can't continue that pattern.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Darkness404 (1287218)
          But really the Xbox has been a good thing for the video game market as a whole. Sega was doomed from the start with every single console save for the Master System and the Genesis (Mega Drive for those not in the US), and almost ruined the Genesis with all the add-ons (Sega CD, 32X, etc). So past the Dreamcast era even with no Xbox, Sega would have failed. What would have happened would be the Gamecube having all the non-hardcore games and all the Nintendo franchises, while Sony would have most of the marke
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Mattazuma (1255022)
          They didn't "abuse" their monopoly power making the XBox. Using money earned in their monopoly business to enter another, unrelated market is not an anti-trust violation. In order for there to be a violation they would have to directly use their monopoly to take over another market. For example, requiring the use of Microsoft mice or keyboards in order to run Windows would be an anti-trust violation.
      • by pizzach (1011925)

        Exactly. If MS was broken into a browser and an OS company, we would definitely still be using IE6 since the browser company would divert all of it's developers to other projects. No affect on anything at all.

        I fail to see how breaking them up would be anti-capitalism though. I think you mean anti-Laissez-faire capitalism.

        • But would we be using a browser that was just as bad? A browser is essential for the average person to download newer, better browsers. OEMs, while they could bundle a decent browser, would just as easily buy a crap browser to put on the systems. We would have yet another proprietary browser war, with people having to buy browsers on disk and no Web 2.0 revolution.

          An OS is not complete without a browser, if Apple couldn't bundle Safari with OS X then I don't think we would have WebKit nor would we have
          • by SL Baur (19540)

            We would have yet another proprietary browser war, with people having to buy browsers on disk and no Web 2.0 revolution.

            You say that as if it were a bad thing ...

            If web pages were written to a true standard, and one has always existed, that would make for the best results. You then select the browser that delivers the feature set you prefer most.

            10 or 20 browsers, on top of 10 or 20 O/Ses running on 5 or 10 hardware architectures would make for an extremely hostile (to) web malware environment *and* those who try to buck established standards.

            • by drsmithy (35869)

              10 or 20 browsers, on top of 10 or 20 O/Ses running on 5 or 10 hardware architectures would make for an extremely hostile (to) web malware environment *and* those who try to buck established standards.

              Not to mention anyone trying to write software for more than a tiny minority of the marketplace.

          • Laissez-faire capitalism wouldn't have corporations, patents, or copyrights.
      • by SL Baur (19540)

        ...And what good would breaking up MS do?

        Force them to compete on merit?

        What needs to happen is A) Laws allowing you to return bundled software for free for a refund with no hassle

        No, one issue is that by default, the way they have set up OEM licensing, everyone pays for a Microsoft license. Lowering the refund hurdle aside, that's inherently anti-competitive and unrealistic - the vast majority of people are going to use what came with the system, after all, they already paid for it. It works to stifle any competition. Netscape died a painful death.

        Another example. Why is there no competition for MS Outlook? It's a mail program that appears design

    • by pete6677 (681676) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:13PM (#27916831)

      What really made the key difference is that Microsoft discovered political lobbying. They had never really given it much thought before the anti-trust trial, when Gates was naive enough to think the company would succeed just because of how smart he is. Faced with their eventual elimination, Gates realized that when you run a big business you have to play the game. That means gaining political favor. When Gates started his lobbying arm, he did it the way he does everything else: with full force. Now, Microsoft's lobbyist department is one of the strongest in the industry. No future president or legislator will ever again threaten them with monopoly charges. Hell, they could probably buy Google if they really played their cards right. The monopoly trial was about nothing more than politicians sending Gates a message saying "you've got to pay to play".

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by The_Quinn (748261)

        That is why we need the separation of State and Economics, just as we have the separation of Church and State.

        The only way to avoid the purchasing of government favoritism is to eliminate the power of the government to grant favors.

    • No way they will go after Google. Eric Schmidt is a member of the Bilderberg Group, and other executives have ties with them and with the Trilateral Commission.

      Obama will never allow any interference with their plans.

    • Because hoards of Microsoft lawyers now have jobs with the Obama administration.

      Former MS lawyers? Are these a special breed of lawyers who actually have loyalty to people who aren't currently giving them money?

      I agree it's not ideal to have lawyers who have ever worked for MS, but it's not like they're definitely going to still do all they can for MS, and while we're wishing, why not wish the administration had no need to hire ANY lawyers?

    • by drsmithy (35869)

      Please notice that I did not use "M$" in the body of this post. The use of "M$" inflaes the paid Microsoft shills that seem to hang out here.

      If you act like a child, you should not be surprised when you get treated like one.

  • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:42PM (#27916075)

    I remember gobs of people complaining about letting businesses get to be "too big to fail" back when the last administration started the process of bailing out financial companies. I'm curious as to just how many of those same folks will be showing up lauding this move -- and of those who don't, how they expect to prevent businesses from growing that large without regulatory action.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I for one laud the move, assuming they actually do it rather than say that they're going to do it.

      But to be fair, when the government said that they were too big to fail, they were implying that they'd do something about the credit default swaps. To this day, I don't believe anybody has actually addressed those in any sort of direct way.

      We could have bailed out all of the mortgage problems for around 3-4 trillion whereas the real problem was many times larger than that due to companies buying insurance on b

    • by timmarhy (659436) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:55PM (#27916173)
      the problem is too big to fail was a bullshit notion to begin with. they just had trouble saying "old boys club".
    • The current mess with certain banks and the car makers is a good argument for injecting a "too big to fail" criteria into the existing anti-trust criteria. Sure Chase and Citibank and BofA all compete but if they've gotten "too big to fail", is there really competition? The same applies to GM and Chrysler plus some other companies that aren't in trouble at the moment (e.g., what happens to commercial aviation if Boeing goes belly up? There used to be a competitor called McDonnell-Douglas until Boeing bou

    • Seriously, if we would have let Citibank or AIG go down the shitter, what would have happened? Let's see, we would have had a month where we lost 600,000 jobs.

      Oh, jeez, we get those every month now.

      TARP is hands down the dumbest bipartisan thing ever done. Right about now the House Republicans that opposed TARP are starting to look really good. TARP was a trillion dollar waste of money.

      And of course, we followed that up with another trillion dollar waste of money in the stimulus. Our latest moron in chi

  • Seriously, which one of these findings were so objectionable. Was it:

    "No single test for determining whether conduct is anticompetitive such as the effects-balancing, profit-sacrifice, no-economic-sense, equally efficient competitor, or disproportionality tests works well in all cases. The Department encourages the continuing development of conduct-specific tests and safe harbors;"

    or

    "Remedies for conduct that is found to violate Section 2 should re-establish the opportunity for competition without unnecessarily chilling competitive practices or undermining incentives to invest and innovate;"

  • by BearRanger (945122) on Monday May 11, 2009 @10:15PM (#27917337)

    However exploiting them is. For those of you asking why Google and not Apple, perhaps that's why. I'd be hard pressed to say Apple has a monopoly in any of its markets anyway.

    What is the government's intent in pursuing anti-trust action? If it's to make markets more competitive there are better industries to target than microchips, software and computer manufacturing. The barrier to entry for the software market is very low. In my opinion any emphasis here should be on limiting mergers and acquisitions that stifle innovation.

    However if their goal is to limit the exploitation of consumers they need to revisit telecommunications. Start with the government-granted monopolies given to the cable companies. Then take a look at the oligarchy that the wireless phone market has become. AT&T may not be the "Ma Bell" of yore but they seem to be heading that way.

  • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @12:17AM (#27918127) Homepage
    So, on one hand, the Treasury Department is spending billions of dollars to keep massive corporations from breaking up and, on the other hand, the Justice Department will be spending billions of dollars to make sure they do.

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.

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