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March 27, 2008 6:23 PM
Posted by Benjamin J. Romano
A prominent pundit and legal expert during the historic Microsoft antitrust trial, William Kovacic, was named chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.
"In a case filled with talking heads who served as daily analysts of the trial, he may have been the most quoted," we wrote in a 2001 analysis of the major players from the antitrust trial and where they ended up.
A quick search of our archives for articles with Kovacic and Microsoft from Jan. 1, 1997 to Dec. 31, 2001, yielded 62 results.
Kovacic was, at the time, a professor at the George Washington University School of Law. He went on to be the FTC's General Counsel, through the end of 2004. He did an earlier stint from 1979 to 1983 in the commission's Bureau of Competition Planning Office and later as an adviser to a commissioner. He became a commissioner himself in 2006 and will take the chairman's gavel this Sunday, replacing Deborah Platt Majoras.
Is his punditry on the Microsoft case relevant? It's at least an interesting detail.
The Washington Post, in its coverage of his appointment, noted that Kovacic takes over the FTC "as it grapples with how to police anti-competitive, deceptive and unfair business practices in the digital age." The FTC reviews things like Google's acquisition of DoubleClick (which Kovacic supported, earning criticism from privacy advocates) and would likely weigh in on Microsoft's proposed purchase of Yahoo, should that go forward.