Struggling chipmaker AMD has added a new allegation to the company's antitrust complaint against rival chipmaker Intel. In a 108-page document filed in federal court, plaintiff AMD accused defendant Intel of paying manufacturers like Dell not to use AMD processors, citing internal emails and other documents which were turned over through the discovery process in the case. AMD has been struggling, having laid off thousands in the last few months. CEO Hector Ruiz, pictured here, is expected to make a major announcement today in Austin, Texas, possibly splitting up the company into separate chip-design and chip-fabrication businesses.
Microsoft's bid for Yahoo may have been dropped at a meeting in Washington state, but it was lost in Washington, D.C. Google's first word on the prospective deal, from top lawyer David Drummond, was of the cominbation's monopoly in email and instant messaging. That proved the last word, too. By making Yahoo fearful of regulatory scrutiny, Drummond and his lobbyists were able to put steel in Jerry Yang and David Filo's backbones to hold out for a higher price, and demand other conditions besides. The notion that Microsoft might pursue a Yahoo bid and have it nixed, leaving Yahoo incurably weakened, may give Yang and Filo some protection from inevitable shareholder lawsuits. But Google, by keeping Yahoo out of Microsoft's hands, is the real winner.
Years ago, PayPal was an independent company which fought constantly with eBay to be allowed on the site as a way to settle accounts after an auction was won. Now, years after eBay bought PayPal, the payments service is elbowing out all manner of competition. In Australia, eBay is limiting purchases to either PayPal or cash on delivery — no checks or money orders allowed, let alone rival electronic payment methods. In the U.S., eBay was sued last year for tying PayPal too closely to its online marketplace. How soon they forget: PayPal is aiming to quash an economic freedom its founders, including noted libertarian Peter Thiel, fought for.
After a careful and thorough review of the proposed transaction, the Division concluded that the evidence does not demonstrate that the proposed merger of XM and Sirius is likely to substantially lessen competition, and that the transaction therefore is not likely to harm consumers. The Division reached this conclusion because the evidence did not show that the merger would enable the parties to profitably increase prices to satellite radio customers for several reasons, including: a lack of competition between the parties in important segments even without the merger; the competitive alternative services available to consumers; technological change that is expected to make those alternatives increasingly attractive over time; and efficiencies likely to flow from the transaction that could benefit consumers.
European Union regulators fined Microsoft 899 million euros — $1.35 billion and counting — for failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust decision. The order said Microsoft overcharged for patent licenses and documentation which developers needed to build applications on Windows. Compliance with this antitrust order is the reason Microsoft released 30,000 pages of documentation last week — all under the guise of being "open source" friendly. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the euro hit an all-time high against the dollar this morning, priced at $1.5057 to €1. If Microsoft had just settled this in 2004, instead of fighting, it would have saved $400 million. (Photo by AP)
To fend off European regulators, Microsoft has released 30,000 pages of documentation about its development practices. Company spokespeople insist the online reference library will make Microsoft more "open" — a word used 17 times in the press release today as Microsoft complies with a ruling it fought tooth and nail. Amateurs. The White House would have cranked up the pagecount to at least 3 million. (Photo by AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Brin, Page and Schmidt have cut and run on Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang. Word is Google execs visited with Yang and the Yahoo board last week and encouraged them to say no to Microsoft's offer. As incentive to do so, Google is said to have offered to take over Yahoo search and immediately boost the floundering company's cash flow. On Monday, Yang officially rejected Microsoft's offer. But now that Yang and the board face a proxy fight with Microsoft, these Google executives are suddenly less interested in bailing Yahoo out, the WSJ reports. Sources tell the paper that the Googlers' enthusiam waned as antitrust worries waxed. But we wonder if all Google wanted in the first place was to keep Microsoft and Yahoo from doing anything quickly.
A Microsoft-Yahoo merger would give Microsoft control of more than 90 percent of email and instant messaging traffic worldwide. But when a reporter from AdAge asked Microsoft VP Yusuf Mehdi about it, he shushed her. "The core of the combination is around search and advertising," Mehdi said, "The other allegations are not there and not the focus of what we should be talking about in this combination." We'll ignore that advice, but agree with the sentiment. Last we checked, email use was in decline relative to other forms of online communication, such as social network messaging. (Photo by richard winchell)
Microsoft has been making Google miserable for a year over its DoubleClick purchase — and now, with Microsoft trying to buy Yahoo, it's payback time. That's the true meaning of top Google lawyer David Drummond's statement about the Microsoft bid. He's not saying that the deal is anticompetitive: He's just asking questions. Expect Google to keep asking, and asking, and asking — all the way up and down Capitol Hill, where the search giant has been steadily building up its lobbying presence. If Microsoft thought its last antitrust battle was torture, it hasn't seen anything yet. Drip, drip, drip.
Answer: No. Don't wait around for Google to swoop in and put Yahoo out of its misery. Larry and Sergey can't even kill DoubleClick, a much smaller company they've been trying to acquire for almost a year now. Beltway busybodies are already talking up an antitrust investigation into Microsoft's bid. Now imagine Google in place of Microsoft. See? You're getting smarter already.
Like a developmentally disabled child getting praised for his classroom manners, Microsoft has won praise from the judge overseeing its behavior after an antitrust case. Though Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has extended her period of oversight until November 2009, citing an "extreme and unforeseen delay in the availability of complete, accurate and usable technical documentation," she described Microsoft as "extremely cooperative." (Microsoft was supposed to produce the documentation to make it easier for rivals to work with its software.) Does anyone realize how cutting this is? Microsoft isn't misbehaving, according to the court; it's just stupid.
European Union regulators plan to drag Microsoft back into court over monopolistic practices. Specifically, they argue Microsoft should not require developers to code Web software in languages only Microsoft's Internet Explorer can read. The regulators will also argue for open office-document standards, a practice which could threaten, in theory, Microsoft's Office franchise.
Federal Trade Commission regulators voted 4-1 to approve the Google-DoubleClick merger. According to the WSJ, the commission ruled that the deal is "unlikely to substantially lessen competition." Google announced the merger eight months ago, but antitrust and privacy concerns brought by Microsoft slowed the deal in Washington. In the end, Microsoft, with its $500 million Viacom deal as well as its $240 million investment in Facebook, likely convinced regulators that the online-advertising business is as competitive as Google always argued.
The Federal Communications Commission has voted to allow broadcasters in the 20 largest media markets to also own their very own newspaper. The decision overturns a 1975 ban that noted "it is unrealistic to expect true diversity from a commonly owned station-newspaper combination." Ah, so goes the final obstacle barring the way of the inevitable alliance of Clear Channel and News Corp. Dark and difficult times lie ahead; a new age has begun. But there are worlds beyond our own. Power can be held in the smallest of things. Or something. [CBS]
Opera Software, maker of a feature-laden but forgotten Web browser, is complaining to the European Commission about Microsoft's Internet Explorer. It's an old gripe: Opera points out — duh — that IE is bundled with Windows. Opera claims this is illegal and that IE holds back the web with lousy support for standards. This smells like a publicity stunt meant to remind people Opera still exists.
The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that its decision regarding Google's purchase of DoubleClick will focus on antitrust rather than privacy issues. A decision could come this month. And this has absolutely nothing to do with the detailed search logs Google keeps on all queries originating from ftc.gov. [AdAge]
Harrison Bergeron ain't got nothing on Bill Gates. Microsoft and the European Commission announced an agreement to handicap the software giant enough to make it equal to everyone else, in compliance with a 2004 ruling. Now Microsoft competitors will pay only a one-time fee of 10,000 euros to access the code needed to write software compatible with Microsoft's, and pay much lower licensing fees. Now that Microsoft's been laden down with tons of legal scrap metal, should we be surprised its lawyers are trying to do the same to Google in the DoubleClick case? (Photo by Revi Kornmann)
Google modified details of its proposed DoubleClick acquisition in order to placate customers and competitors in Europe, say reports. As a result, the European Commission today extended its inquiry into the purchase to until November 13. The ordeal stems from complaints by competitors, in particular long-time antitrust watchdog Microsoft, which in Europe and in the US complain that control of DoubleClick ad-serving would give Google control over 80 percent of the online-advertising market and too much access to users' private information. Google, in turn, believes that allowing it to dominate online advertising is good for everybody and that you should stop asking questions, or people will find out about your top ten search terms, pervert.