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Former Microsoft Economist Joins DOJ Antitrust Team as Tech Probes Surge

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(Bloomberg) -- Susan Athey, a Stanford University professor and former chief economist at Microsoft Corp., is joining the Justice Department as its top antitrust economist.

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A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed the hire Tuesday.

Athey, an expert on the economics of internet platforms -- particularly search engines and online advertising -- joins the Justice Department as it prepares for trial against Alphabet Inc.’s Google and is pursuing an investigation of Apple Inc. and another Google case.

Because of her previous work, though, Athey is likely to be recused from the Justice Department’s Google and Apple cases, said two people, speaking on condition of anonymity about internal DOJ matters.

Athey consulted for Microsoft for almost a decade, aiding the company’s years-long antitrust fight against Google. More recently, she served as an economic expert for Epic Games Inc. in its antitrust suit against Apple related to the iPhone-maker’s mobile App Store restrictions.

In her work for Microsoft, Athey worked closely with Jonathan Kanter, the assistant attorney general for antitrust, who represented the Windows-maker in its antitrust battles with the DOJ in the early 2000s and later against Google.

A professor at Stanford since 2013, Athey previously taught at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She resigned last month from the board of directors of Expedia Group Inc., a position she had held since 2015.

Athey didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

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