AT&T is attempting to give itself a monopoly with its takeover of Time Warner, suggests David Dayen of The Nation. An internal memo published by the Justice Department indicated that AT&T is motivated by the fact that its competitors need the content that Time Warner produces. It can now raise costs on competitors and give discounts to people that use its services. The merger is bad for competition, giving AT&T an unfair advantage. It also gives an even smaller group more influence on the country’s news media. America’s anti-trust laws are inadequate and need to be reformed to recognize these and other downsides.
AT&T’s merger with Time Warner is good for the US, asserts Larry Downes of Harvard Business Review. The criticism of this development centered around apparent risks to consumers through higher prices and worse services, which is not going to happen. It was a vertical merger, between two companies that don’t compete directly with one another. With this takeover, AT&T will only own a small fraction of media companies. None of the vertical mergers the government challenged since 1979 ended up being halted. Over-regulation of this sector could result in huge chaos on the stock market. The merger is a good thing.