Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal faces probe from US states

Comcast will now have to deal with US states as well as the US Justice Department if it expects to win approval to buy Time Warner Cable.

Florida is part of a multistate group investigating the proposed merger to make sure if doesn't run afoul of antitrust laws, the Florida state attorney general's office told CNET on Wednesday.

"We are part of a multistate group reviewing the proposed transaction along with the U.S. DOJ Antitrust Division," the Florida state attorney general's office said to CNET in an e-mailed statement. "The matter is also … Read more

Apple files appeal in e-book antitrust case

Apple filed an appeal Tuesday of a federal judge's ruling last year that the company violated US antitrust laws by conspiring with publishers to fix e-book prices.

The appeal, filed with the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, called the ruling last July by US District Court Judge Denise Cote "a radical departure from modern antitrust law and policy" that if allowed to stand "would stifle innovation, chill competition, and harm consumers."

In April 2012, the Justice Department sued Apple along with five of the six largest book publishers in the … Read more

European antitrust chief defends deal with Google

Google's deal to avoid a huge antitrust fine in Europe is no "gentlemen's agreement," the European Commission's competition chief said on Friday.

Speaking at an antitrust conference, Joaquin Almunia defended the recent deal with Google in which the search giant agreed to certain conditions to settle a long-standing investigation. To avoid a potential antitrust fine as high as $5 billion, Google agreed to display search results to its own services in the same way as those for rival companies, along with other concessions.

Google's latest rapprochement may have satisfied Almunia. But other parties aren'… Read more

Qualcomm called out by China for alleged overcharging, dominance

Qualcomm, the chipmaker whose products are found in numerous mobile phones, is facing trouble in China.

China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), an antitrust regulator in the country, said Wednesday that Qualcomm is under investigation for possible overcharging and using its position of "dominance" in the marketplace to limit competition. Reuters earlier reported on the news.

That China has been investigating Qualcomm has been known for months, but until this point, the agency has kept its allegations close to the vest. In November, Qualcomm said that it planned to fully cooperate with government authorities.

According to … Read more

Apple loses bid to yank court-appointed antitrust monitor

It's no secret that Apple has been unhappy with the court-appointed antitrust monitor watching over its shoulder -- but, it appears the company is going to have to get used to it for the time being.

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied Apple's motion on Monday to put the court-appointed monitor's duties on hold while it seeks a more expansive appeal to remove him completely. In other words, monitor Michael Bromwich may continue to keep tabs on Apple's antitrust compliance policies for e-books.

"We are pleased with the court's decision,&… Read more

FTC approves key condition of Google's Nest acquisition

Google's acquisition of Nest Labs appears to have been sped up.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that the deal was granted an "early termination" of the acquisition waiting period. This means applicable antitrust and competition regulations for the deal have been satisfied and the acquisition could be complete earlier than previously forecast.

Google announced last month that it was buying Nest, maker of the Learning Thermostat and the Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector, for $3.2 billion. While Nest will be joining Google's ranks, the company said it will still be run by current … Read more

Google ups concessions, hopes to end EU investigation - report

Google has improved concessions in an effort to end an antitrust investigation brought on by the European Union's competition watchdog, according to a new report.

Google recently submitted new concessions to EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia that have been deemed "much better," Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Though certain aspects of the deal are still being worked out, an agreement could be announced as early as this week. By making an agreement with the EU, Google could escape an antitrust fine of up to $5 billion.

The EU has been placing demands … Read more

DOJ: Court didn't abuse power by appointing Apple monitor

The US Department of Justice on Friday argued that a US court didn't abuse its power by naming an external monitor to oversee Apple's compliance with antitrust law and that an appeals court should deny Apple's motions to get rid of the monitor.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday had granted Apple's motion to hold off on having an external monitor to make sure it complies with antitrust laws, saying it would give Apple a reprieve until a panel can examine the issue.

The government, in an opposition filing Friday, said the court acted within its … Read more

European antitrust case targets US movie studio contracts

The European Commission has opened an antitrust case involving licensing agreements between US film studios that can preclude European TV broadcasters in one country from showing movies in another.

The investigation involves licensing agreement provisions in contracts between Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, and Paramount Pictures on the one hand, and on the other "the largest European pay-TV broadcasters, such as BSkyB of the UK, Canal Plus of France, Sky Italia of Italy, Sky Deutschland of Germany, and DTS of Spain," the commission said Monday in a statement. At issue is whether such contracts hobble … Read more

Apple requests removal of antitrust compliance monitor

Tensions between Apple and a court-appointed antitrust compliance monitor have apparently reached a breaking point.

Lawyers for the tech giant on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Denise Cote to disqualify Michael Bromwich, arguing that he has demonstrated a personal bias against the company. Bromwich was appointed in October to keep tabs on Apple, following a ruling that the company had conspired with other publishers to set e-book prices.

The company took particular issue with a court filing late last month in which Bromwich laid out his full list of grievances against Apple. In the document, the former assistant US … Read more