DOJ Was Three Hours From Suing Google For Antitrust Violations

from the pick-your-fights dept

It was pretty clear back in September, when the Justice Department hired well-known antitrust litigator Sandy Litvack, that it had decided that it was going to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google, even if there were serious questions about what harm its ad deal with Yahoo would actually cause. Despite plenty of negotiation and totally rewriting the deal, the Justice Department was set on opposing it, leading Google to give up.

Now, that litigator, Sandy Litvack has admitted that the Justice Department was three hours away from filing its antitrust suit, which he was “looking forward to” and he’s apparently disappointed he didn’t get to go to court over it. That seems troublesome. If the purpose of antitrust activity is to protect consumers, then its litigators should be pretty happy that it avoided a (taxpayer-funded) legal battle.

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Companies: google, justice department, yahoo

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Comments on “DOJ Was Three Hours From Suing Google For Antitrust Violations”

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13 Comments
bigpicture says:

Antitrust

Isn’t that the beauty of the system. It serves everyones interests except those it pretends to serve. It’s for lawyers to make a name for themselves, for politicians to look like they are doing their job, it is for protecting the kickbacks from MS etc. Why did you think it was about the tax payers? They never get bailed out, they just take it in the wazoo. I think they are expecting Obama to clean up a bunch of that crap.

Willton says:

Why is that troublesome?

That seems troublesome. If the purpose of antitrust activity is to protect consumers, then its litigators should be pretty happy that it avoided a (taxpayer-funded) legal battle.

What does it matter what Litvack wanted to do? Litvack is not a member of the DOJ; he is an independent contractor. He’s the hired help, not the decision-maker. If I were the DOJ, I’d be more concerned that Litvack did not want to do the work, regardless of whether I’d give him the chance to do so.

It should be no surprise that he’s unhappy that the case did not get litigated: he did not get the opportunity to do the work or get paid therefor. It would be the same as if you were asked to develop a business plan with the opportunity to implement it for a government-funded entity, and the plan ultimately gets abandoned. Just like the litigator, you probably would be unhappy that you were not able to do that work. Why would that be troublesome?

Anonymous Badass says:

I think I’ll send Mr. Litvack an invitation to join Gmail.

If he made the case against Google a personal one then the point is not that he simply wanted to “do the work,” but that he has some beef with the company in the first place. Is he just disappointed that he didn’t get to settle a personal score?

To state the obvious, I would REALLY rather see the DOJ (the government in general really) using tax $ to fight worthwhile battles. The big picture has been abandoned (Cough Post-Katrina New Orleans Cough) for some time. Very sad.

Willton says:

Re: Re:

If he made the case against Google a personal one then the point is not that he simply wanted to “do the work,” but that he has some beef with the company in the first place. Is he just disappointed that he didn’t get to settle a personal score?

What makes you think that Litvack has a vendetta against Google? It’s certainly not apparent from the face of the article.

Crimson says:

What’s your opinion on MS’s antitrust trial? Was the suit justified? Should there even BE anti-trust legislation?

BTW, your creation and ownership post is intellectually dishonest or naive, IMO. The loaf of bread is a finite resource, so it doesn’t matter if you feed it to pigeons or share it with your friends.

Music/Video games/any electronic medium is an infinite resource. One person can buy one copy of a video game and give it away to millions for free on the internet. If a game company spends $100 million dollars developing a video game, how do you propose they make money under a system where that game can be shared on the internet with everyone at no extra cost?

Let’s see some concrete, real world scenarios instead of abstracts (which are too easy to BS).

Also, are you a capitalist or a communist (or on the socialist spectrum)? This may sound insulting, but it may be useful to explicitly state the “obvious” it before delving into your arguments.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What’s your opinion on MS’s antitrust trial? Was the suit justified? Should there even BE anti-trust legislation?

No, I don’t think it was justified, as we’re seeing now that in such a rapidly changing market, competition has had every opportunity to challenge Microsoft successfully.

I have no problem with antitrust legislation that actually focuses on real monopolies where real consumer harm is being done. But I have problems when it decides that “big” automatically means that competitors can’t step in or that consumers are harmed.


BTW, your creation and ownership post is intellectually dishonest or naive, IMO. The loaf of bread is a finite resource, so it doesn’t matter if you feed it to pigeons or share it with your friends.

I’m not sure why you’re discussing this here, but I stand by it. Also, I’m going to politely question your reading skills. The bread example was not mine. In fact, the bread example was what the supporters of copyright were using, and we were disproving. You can disagree with me, but at least disagree with what I actually wrote.

Furthermore, the issue that the bread is finite is the VERY point that we are trying to make. Content is NOT finite, which is why it’s quite silly to treat it as if it were finite by slapping bogus limits on it.

Music/Video games/any electronic medium is an infinite resource. One person can buy one copy of a video game and give it away to millions for free on the internet. If a game company spends $100 million dollars developing a video game, how do you propose they make money under a system where that game can be shared on the internet with everyone at no extra cost?

I have discussed that at length. I’m guessing you must be new here.

You might want to start here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070503/012939.shtml

Then follow the links at the end to understand.

Let’s see some concrete, real world scenarios instead of abstracts (which are too easy to BS).

We’ve discussed an awful lot of real examples. We tend to have a few every week. Start looking around before you criticize.

Also, are you a capitalist or a communist (or on the socialist spectrum)? This may sound insulting, but it may be useful to explicitly state the “obvious” it before delving into your arguments.

Ah, clearly you are new here.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081121/0323212915.shtml

Please, before insulting your host, it’s common courtesy to actually understand what he’s saying.

Willton says:

Re: Re:

I began my comment with “If” and ended it with a question mark. Reading comprehension is your friend.

This is what you wrote:

If he made the case against Google a personal one then the point is not that he simply wanted to “do the work,” but that he has some beef with the company in the first place. Is he just disappointed that he didn’t get to settle a personal score?

Notice that period in the middle? I comprehend that as two different sentences. You are presenting an if-then statement, meaning that you are presenting a situation that depends on a condition precedent. It leads one to believe that you actually think this condition exists. So, my question is, why do you think that?

Why is that an unfair question that prompts an immature response like the one above?

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