Is the DOJ's second request for more information about the proposed acquisition routine, or a roadblock?
In brazen defiance of modern tradition, the U.S. Justice Department appears to attempting to enforce U.S. laws as though they have the authority to do so granted to them by the U.S. Constitution. Less than a month ago, they surprised everyone by actually noticing that AT&T's attempt to purchase T-Mobile probably runs afoul of U.S. Anti-Trust law, and issued a motion to block the acquisition. And it appears that they're treating Google's proposed purchase of Motorola Mobility with similar skepticism. Today, news emerged that the DOJ has made a second request for information about the buyout. (The full document is available online).
Naturally the Google/Motorola Mobility deal isn't saddled by the same issues as the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile combo. AT&T and T-Mobile offer competing products; a merger would necessarily reduce market competition and give AT&T an unfair edge. Google and Motorola Mobility do not actually compete with one another directly and it's therefore likely the deal will ultimately be approved. However, Google business practices have come under increased scrutiny as of late, culminating in recent congressional hearings investigating whether the company behaves in a monopolistic fashion. It's therefore refreshing to see the DOJ continuing that scrutiny after a decade dominated by a less strict approach to business law enforcement.