Monday, May 19, 2003

Antitrust News: SBC Appeal Denied

From the San Antonio Business Journal:

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by SBC Communications Inc. involving a $20 million judgment for violation of Oklahoma's antitrust laws, according to a Dow Jones news report.

SBC subsidiary Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. was sued by several smaller pay phone companies under Oklahoma's antitrust laws. The companies alleged that SBC had locked up the local pay phone market by reaching restrictive contracts with the owners of the pay phone locations.

SBC spokesman Walt Sharp says the telecommunications giant continues to believe that it did nothing wrong.

"SBC continues to believe that we have acted properly in all matters related to payphone competition in Oklahoma and everywhere else in our region of coverage," Sharp says. "We have complied with the terms of the judgment (in January) and it has been settled."

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver denied SBC's appeal of the judgment last year.

You have to love the fake horror at the core of antitrust cases like this one. What I mean is this: Were SBC's competitors legitimately surprised that their opponent would actually seek contracts to restrict their entry into the market? If they were in SBC's position, they would have done precisely the same thing.

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