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US cracks down on anti-competitive behaviour

Warwick Ashford

The US has announced a shift in anti-monopoly policy that could lead to closer scrutiny of the business operations of technology giants like Google, Intel and Oracle.

In recent years Microsoft and Intel have been investigated by European authorities for anti-competitive behaviour, but until now have had less pressure to get their house in order in the US.

Later this week, the European Commission is expected to announce a substantial fine against Intel over charges that the company unlawfully provided rebates and price reductions to customers.

Christine Varney, head of the Justice Department's anti-trust division, has signalled a new aggressive approach to anti-competitive practices in the US, according to the New York Times.

In a speech to the Center for American Progress, Varney announced a new enforcement policy that reverses the Bush administration's approach of favouring defendants against anti-trust claims.

Varney said: "The Bush administration policy lost sight of an ultimate goal of antitrust laws - the protection of consumer welfare."

The policy shift could see an increase in anti-competitive investigations against bigger tech companies that will help level the playing field for smaller companies, according to US media reports.


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