Resigning Acting Antitrust Chief Defends eBook Lawsuit

By Jason Boog Comment

In a speech at the Brookings Institution entitled “Promoting Competition and Innovation Through Vigorous Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws on Behalf of Consumers,” acting assistant attorney general Sharis A. Pozen defended the Department of Justice’s decision to pursue legal action against five publishers and Apple.

The speech seemed to reference Amazon, without ever naming the company. Here’s an excerpt: “At its heart, this case is about protecting competition, not competitors.  And most importantly, it is about lower eBook prices for consumers.  As I stated when we announced this action, our proposed remedy demonstrates that the antitrust laws are flexible and can keep pace with technology and a rapidly changing industry.  Indeed, our settlements with the three publishers have a five-year term with a two-year ‘cooling off’ period, representing a  desire to balance the need to ensure competition is restored in this important and evolving market, while not inhibiting its growth and innovation.”

Pozen will resign this week as the DOJ’s acting antitrust chief, and she outlined her division’s recent antitrust actions, ranging from AT&T’s efforts to buy T-Mobile to price fixing problems in the car parts industry to the eBook lawsuit. In all these cases, she made it clear that “the division is prepared to litigate and win” these legal actions.