Washington, DC – The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) today applauded the Justice Department’s decision to scuttle an agreement that would have granted it sole authority to review most mergers within the information-technology industry. The Department’s retreat followed months of criticism of its decision to withdrawal from the Microsoft antitrust proceeding. Nine states formerly allied with the DOJ are continuing the litigation before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly

“We are gratified that this ill-considered and irresponsible agreement is dead,” CCIA President and CEO Ed Black said. “Our industry depends on vibrant competition and effective enforcement of our antitrust statutes, and that requires a role for the Federal Trade Commission. We are very appreciative of Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Hollings’ role in highlighting the concerns over this proposal.”

The March agreement between Assistant Attorney General Charles James and FTC Chairman Timothy Muris would have assigned merger review responsibilities between the two agencies according to industry. Assistant Attorney General James notified the Senate yesterday that he was rescinding the agreement.

“There are great concerns in our industry about the Justice Department’s commitment to antitrust enforcement and its standing as an impartial arbiter of competition matters,” said Black. “Any efforts to expand the Department’s authority over antitrust matters – particularly at the expense of the FTC – should be viewed with tremendous skepticism.”

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