High Tech Could Get Brunt of New Antitrust Scrutiny

The Obama White House said today it’s tightening policy on antitrust rules; the changes don’t bode well for high-tech companies such as Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).

The Bush White House took a relaxed approach to monopolization and M&A – recall the SBC takeover of AT&T and then BellSouth? How about Verizon’s purchases of MCI and Alltel? There’s also uncertainty surrounding Google’s search engine and software market share.

That’s all about to change. Christine Varney has been appointed head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division and, in a speech on Monday at a think tank friendly to Obama, she said antitrust enforcers will “no longer sit on the sidelines.”

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