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Google's Antitrust Strike Four -- sentenced to five years of DOJ/Court supervision

The DOJ busted six companies, Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe, and Intuit for "naked restraint of trade" in collusively agreeing to not poach each others employees and reducing their employees' ability to be paid what a fair market would bear. See the DOJ statement; complaint; Final Judgment. (and Google's spin that they were very busy changing the world and that everybody was doing it... self-justification -- is here.)

  • This is a logical extension of the FTC investigation last summer that forced Google and Apple to cease having overlapping board seats because that was judged anti-competitive collusive behavior.
  • Moreover, Google and Apple were at the center of this DOJ antitrust prosecution, in that three of the five illegal agreements involved each of them.

What's notable here?

  • This is antitrust "Strike Four" for Google; Google is now an official serial antitrust offender with four official antitrust violations in three years.
    • Google-Yahoo ad agreement was blocked as monopolistic in 2008;
    • FTC forced Google and Apple off each other's boards in 2009;
    • DOJ opposed the Google Book Settlement as anti-competitive in 2009 & 2010; and
    • Now this consent decree.
  • "Strike Four" means Google no longer gets off easy.
    • The DOJ complaint indicates that they had Google and the other companies dead to rights and would have won a conviction in court.
  • Google is submitting to a Court-Supervised Consent Decree i.e. antitrust probation, with serious penalties if Google does not obey the court's decree for the next five years.
This is very interesting because it tells us for the first time, that  Google will settle with the Government.
  • The big question that arises from this new development for me is -- is the reason for the inexplicably long delay in Judge Chin's disposition of the Google Book Settlement possibly a result of serious Google-DOJ book settlement negotiations?