Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
Strange that you can have a law which is applied selectively.

It's not considered selective because it is applied to any company which meets the criteria of the law. At the time of the consent decree Kodak was by far the dominant player in the US. (I earlier said "judgment" but that's inaccurate; the decree was dissolved by a judgment.) Kodak controlling processing of the dominant color films effectively closed the market to any other processor. The others were not seen a having a substantial portion of the market; so if bundling processing helped them compete, that was seen as OK.

The basis of anti-trust legislation is a business entity being so dominant in its marketplace that its practices can stifle competition or eliminate competition by combining competitors.
As a fairly recent example (the 80's), the merger of the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads was challenged and eventually disallowed because they had too much overlap of lines in this part of the country and a lack of other competitors. Southern Pacific was later allowed to merge with Union Pacific and Santa Fe was allowed to merge with Burlington Northern. I'm reminded of that every time I see both Union Pacific and BNSF trains running on the tracks nearby. Otherwise pretty much the only carrier would have been the SPSF.
There's a Kodak connection: The "Kodachrome" paint scheme used to unify the SP and the SF before the merger was denied, so called by railfans because it looked like a Kodachrome box of the time. It was a combination of Santa Fe's yellow "war bonnet" nose and SP's scarlet along the sides, along with a black top. And Kodachrome is the railfan's traditional film of choice.

Another example from the same period is the breakup of the Bell system and its largest component, AT&T. What had been seen as an efficient and innovative phone system came to be seen as an impediment to innovation and new technology, with potential competitors frozen out of every aspect of phone technology. The breakup was not without its problems-like people getting "slammed", i.e., switched to another carrier without their consent, phone bills became impossible to decipher-but prices went down, especially on long distance. A working pay phone became a rarity with high charges the norm- I once used my home number linked calling card to make a local call home from a pay phone because its coin box was full, and found the ripoff company had legally charged me $13!
The feds had good intentions but the execution should have led to their executions. But Bell brought it on itself by clearly acting to stifle all competition.

Having a monopoly is not the primarily the issue; using a monopoly position to stifle competition, is. Microsoft is a good example. Microsoft had gained a near complete monopoly, but its perceived anti-competitive practices are what got it in trouble here and in the EU.