ANTITRUST: The Specter of I, B and M

In a final flurry of activity on the last business day of the Johnson Administration in 1969, the Justice Department initiated one of the most sweeping antitrust suits since the forced breakup of Standard Oil Co. in 1911. In it, the Government charged that International Business Machines Corp. exercised such overwhelming power in the burgeoning data-processing field that genuine competition was impossible. The case has droned on fruitlessly since then; federal prosecutors have been forced to sift through 27 million documents provided by IBM in its defense. Last week, in response to a court order demanding that it spell...

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