The Department of Justice said yesterday it would not oppose a novel proposal by computer and electronics firms to share research on high technology problems through an industry-wide venture meant to meet increasing foreign competition.
But Assistant Attorney General William F. Baxter said the antitrust division will closely monitor the venture to determine its impact on competition and would not give "advance approval of all of its future activities."
The research-sharing venture was proposed by William Norris, chairman of Control Data Corp., who organized a meeting in February of top executives of 15 computer, electronics and manufacturing firms, including Rockwell International Corp., Xerox Corp., United Technologies, Sperry Corp., Burroughs Corp. and Motorola.
According to the Justice Department, U.S. computer and microelectronics companies will be invited to become shareholders in Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corp., a new venture that will sponsor research projects financed by companies that join the organization.
William Shaffer, spokesman for Control Data, said last spring that given "the exploding range of individual technologies that have to be pursued in depth, joint R and D can save time, money and recruiting expense."
"I don't think the antitrust issue is a concern any longer, given the concern about competition from Japan Inc.," said First Boston Corp. industry analyst Harry Edelson when the proposal was disclosed in May.