“Gates’ gimmick of becoming a philanthropist repeats the Rockefeller scam almost one to one a century later.”
Summary: From antitrust to AstroTurfing, ethical issues resurface
OTHER than the pharmaceutical affairs we wrote about before [1, 2], these two families may share an antitrust fate. And yes, it’s a family thing. There is a new article about it in The Austin American-Statesman.
From busting up John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust in 1911 to going after Microsoft’s use of its Windows monopoly, antitrust policy has been an important element of the U.S. regulatory landscape.
Now, in tough times, the Obama administration is swinging back the pendulum, maintaining that lax enforcement in the past decade has worsened economic woes and hurt consumers by failing to protect business competition.
Many observers are watching closely to see how the government handles its antitrust investigation of Intel Corp. Last week, European regulators hit Intel with a $1.5 billion fine for anti-competitive practices.
Q: Besides Standard Oil, what were some other big cases?
A: Despite the nation’s antitrust policies, breaking up is, in some cases, hard to do.
In 2000, a federal judge ordered the breakup of Microsoft Corp. into two companies after labeling it a monopoly over the Windows-browser bundling issue. The Supreme Court refused to hear Microsoft’s appeal of the judge’s decision, sending the case to a federal appeals court. By 2001, Justice was no longer seeking the breakup and reached a tentative deal with the company to settle the antitrust case.
The European Union did fine Microsoft a record $613 million in 2004.
A landmark breakup came in 1984, when the Bell System — which had been a government-approved monopoly — was splintered into eight regional telephone companies and one supplying long-distance service and equipment, AT&T Inc. Deregulation of the industry under a 1996 law has enabled the reconsolidation of phone companies.
Charities, as we last showed this morning, are not always as charitable as they seem. People like Berman have mastered the art of setting up charities that merely advance business agenda.
Microsoft lost its bottle? with “soft” being the operative word?
I wonder where this will leave the alleged “gifted” bloggers? I wonder if they will still shower the praise when the genie refuses to grant wishes no matter how many times they rub the lamp?