A federal judge on Thursday struck down a new Microsoft antitrust lawsuit filed against the tech giants, saying it lacks merit and could put the government at a competitive disadvantage.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco comes after the tech companies said last week they would sue the government in an effort to stop a federal court from imposing new antitrust laws on the industry.
The companies argue that the antitrust laws were enacted to protect consumers from the dominance of one company, Amazon.
The government is also seeking to block the suit in court and in other jurisdictions.
Alsup said in his ruling that while the antitrust suits are a valid remedy, they do not address the broader issues raised by the lawsuit, which seeks to invalidate existing federal antitrust laws.
“The government’s argument is that antitrust laws can’t be enforced against any company because it is not a company, because it has no monopoly on any of the goods and services it sells, or because it uses one of the most sophisticated means of marketing,” Alsup wrote.
“Such a theory ignores the fact that the companies and the government are competing for the same customers, the same products, and the same services, and that the only way to win is to be able to convince the government that it has a better business model,” he said.
The antitrust lawsuits are separate from a federal antitrust suit that Microsoft filed against Yahoo.
The case is also separate from antitrust suits filed by several smaller companies against Microsoft.
The judge rejected the government’s contention that antitrust law is aimed at protecting consumers from monopolies, noting that the lawsuits seek to enforce the antitrust rules of the U.A.E. It also noted that antitrust rules prohibit the government from enforcing them.