A five-decade consensus on the objectives of antitrust law is under threat today from the extraordinarily divisive politics of contemporary America. It took a long time and sordid episodes to get the politics out of antitrust—it would be a shame to go backwards and politicize competition policy again.
Google doesn’t act like a monopolist and shares none of the characteristics sheltering classic monopolists from competition. Its astounding success in Internet search is universally regarded as a consequence of better design, superior code, better products and plain old hard work. Like Lewis Carroll’s other queen, the Queen of Hearts, Google really has no power at all.
Although the AT&T/T-Mobile deal has both horizontal and vertical elements, most media and analyst discussion to date has focused on direct competition for wireless subscribers, the classic horizontal concentration question. Regardless of the result there, observers can expect behavioral injunctions, whether by DOJ consent decree or FCC “conditions” to approval, addressing the deal’s vertical factors.