Consumers Lose in Blocked Cellphone Merger

The Orange County Register discusses antitrust regulation on digital companies with Wayne Crews. 

The opposite is true. "One of the worst aspects of this is that it actually deprives consumers of competition," Wayne Crews told us; he's vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Because AT&T and T-Mobile both will be weaker now than a combined company would have been, "the competition can just sit back and take it easy. It's a form of corporate welfare."

He added that "antitrust is often called an 'alternative to regulation.' This is one of the worst interventions you can have" by government into industry. He said that, aside from antitrust, American businesses face an incredible 4,000 new federal regulations a year. And state governments, especially California's, are no slouches, either, at regulating industry.

Mr. Crews said that California, with clusters of high-tech companies, in particular could be harmed by the government's victory against AT&T. On Dec. 20, two U.S. senators called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Mountain View-based Google for allegedly rigging its search results to favor its own "secondary products and services." Sens. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and Mike Lee, R-Utah are neither from California nor computer experts. They don't know what's going on out here.

Mr. Crews pointed out that there are search-engine alternatives to Google, such as Microsoft's Bing. And who knows what some kid might create in a garage, the way Steve Jobs started Apple, or in a dorm, the way Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook?

Read the full article at the Orange County Register.