When US competition regulators turned down the AT&T-T-Mobile merger, many thought that would be the end of T-Mobile. Instead, it was the end of business as usual. T-Mobile branded and marketed all this as the “Un-carrier,” rolling out new versions of its plans — already five and counting — even as competitors have struggled to match the previous one. “Surprise is an effective competitive tactic,” Mr. Legere said.
I entered the policy and regulation space through an unusual door: the AT&T Divestiture Case of the early 1980s. There the evidence of consumer harm was clear to all: Lily Tomlin had seen to that. That was not the case with Google. “The way they managed to escape it is through a barrage of not only political officials but also academics aligned against doing very much in this particular case,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, a professor of antitrust law at the University of Iowa who has worked as a paid adviser to Google in the past. “The first sign of a bad antitrust case is lack of consumer harm, and there just was not any consumer harm emerging in this very long investigation.
My entry to telecom policy and regulation was through the AT&T Divestiture case, where the US Department of Justice broke up the world’s largest company with my advisor, Bill Melody, as a key witness. The good guys and the bad guys were clear. While I was teaching the big Microsoft antitrust case came up and Lessig was appointed as Master to assist the judge. The lines were not as clear, but I could see the leveraging of the operation system being problematic. Google’s case is much harder to take a position on.