U.S DOJ opens review of AT&T – Apple iPhone exclusive deal

“The Department of Justice has begun an initial review to determine whether large U.S. telecom companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. have abused the market power they’ve amassed in recent years, according to people familiar with the matter,” Amol Sharma reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Among the areas the Justice Department could explore is whether wireless carriers are hurting smaller competitors by locking up popular phones through exclusive agreements with handset makers, according to the people. In recent weeks lawmakers and regulators have raised questions about deals such as AT&T’s exclusive right to provide service for Apple Inc.’s popular iPhone in the U.S.,” Sharma reports.

The scrutiny of the telecom industry is an indication of the Obama administration’s aggressive stance on antitrust enforcement. The Justice Department’s antitrust chief, Christine Varney, has said she wants to reassert the government’s role in policing monopolistic and anti-competitive practices by powerful companies,” Sharma reports.

“The statute that governs such behavior – the Sherman Antitrust Act – was used by the government in cases against giants ranging from Standard Oil to Microsoft Corp. But it lay essentially dormant during the Bush years, with the agency bringing no major case,” Sharma reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Robert S.” for the heads up.]

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