The very picture of quaintness.

The ex-publisher of the WSJ, L. Gordon Crovitz, writes today under the title "The Antitrust Anachronism:  When will technology's ever faster cycles of creative destruction spell the end of antitrust law?"  He argues that the blazing speed of change in high tech renders the Sherman Act, well, quaint.

The oversight Mr. Crovitz disdains happens under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.  HSR requires parties to big mergers and other large deals to report their plans to the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice.

He opines that, as antitrust review of an Internet search deal between Microsoft and Yahoo shows, "by the time regulators can assess a technology market, the market has often moved on."

Ah, yes.  The old market has moved on defense.  Nothing to see here, folks — the market has moved on.  Or it will move on.  Pretty soon.  I think.  Yes, yes — I just saw it move . . . on.

Mr. Crovitz glides over the fact that not long ago "Google tried to do a deal with Yahoo" — a combo that would've put two firms holding almost 85 percent of the search market in cahoots.  If that prospect troubled Mr. Crovitz, he gives no sign of worry — doubtless due to his faith that the market would sooner or later have moved on.

Another bit of fantasy plays into the op-ed.  Mr. Crovitz speaks as if the anti-monopoly part (section 2) of the Sherman Act stands for all antitrust law.  What about section 1 — the piece that condemns contracts, trusts, and conspiracies in restraint of trade?  Will the market self-police price-fixing cartels in the course of moving on?  Will it put conspirators in prison?  Huh?

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