Ex-Microsoft economist joins DOJ antitrust team as it preps anti-Big Tech suits

A former economist for Microsoft is joining the Justice Department’s antitrust team.

Susan Athey, a Stanford University professor and former leading economist at Microsoft, has joined the DOJ as its top antitrust economist. Athey’s hiring comes as the Justice Department prepares for an antitrust lawsuit against Google and Apple.

Athey is the Economics of Technology Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she specializes in “the economics of digitization, marketplace design, and the intersection of econometrics and machine learning.”

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The Stanford economist may have to recuse herself from the Google and Apple cases due to her work for Microsoft, according to Bloomberg.

From 2007 to 2013, Athey worked as a consultant with Microsoft, where she was the chief consulting economist and visiting researcher at the software company’s research firm. The professor assisted in helping Microsoft develop its antitrust fight against Google. She was also an expert witness in the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit in 2021 over the Apple app store.

She joined Stanford in 2013, teaching multiple courses at the university. She previously taught at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Athey has also sat on the boards of numerous businesses, including LendingClub and Ripple Labs. She stepped down from her role on Expedia’s board of directors in June.

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Athey has worked on antitrust legislation with the current DOJ team in the past. Athey consulted on antitrust legal work at Microsoft at the same time as Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter, who helped the software company deal with multiple acquisitions and antitrust lawsuits in the late 2000s. Kanter was temporarily barred from working on an investigation into Google’s monopolistic practices in May due to his previous work for Google’s rivals, Microsoft and Yelp.

Stanford University and the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.

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