By Ed Black, CEO of Computer & Communications Industry Association
…The mega-merger between AT&T and T-mobile and the IBM mainframe investigation are two major cases before the DOJ that demand action. The unchecked reemergence of two of the highest profile monopolies from the 20th Century is not the antitrust legacy the Obama administration or the next AAG desires.
Even under Reagan, who is not celebrated as a proponent of aggressive antitrust enforcement, the Antitrust Division took decisive action to split up AT&T and investigations of IBM were shepherded through both Republican and Democratic administrations. To stress the oft-underappreciated importance of antitrust enforcement, the birth of independent software companies that grew into Silicon Valley and the explosion of the Internet has been the result of antitrust actions — or the credible threat thereof.
Regardless of the spin of big companies, economic growth and jobs result from dynamic, competitive markets — more than from stagnant, monopolized ones.
Now, the next generation of innovation is at stake.
AT&T, with its long history of opposing disruptive innovation, from the answering machine to the Internet, looks poised to take control of a huge swath of the vital wireless market and IBM’s grip tightens on the vast majority of business data that will comprise the heart of the enterprise cloud computing revolution. In other words, the coming year will be the climax of this defining chapter in antitrust history – especially for the technology industry…
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