By Shelley DuBois
March 22, 2011

The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

CONSUMERS LOSE probably, if the $39 billion deal between AT&T (T) and T-Mobile goes through. The mega-merger would thin the herd of cell service providers in the U.S., leaving only three major companies in that category. Those three could jack up the cost of certain services, making consumers pay the price. [New York Times]

GOOGLE VS. CHINA Google (GOOG) is accusing the Chinese government of disrupting Google services such as Gmail and Google Reader in a way that makes it look like the problems are the company’s fault. This latest crackdown on internet services in China followed increased online activity calling for political unrest. [Wall Street Journal]

SHELL’S DEEPWATER PLAN was approved by the Department of the Interior this week, although the company will still need to get a license to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. Shell (RDSA) had to submit an environmental assessment of the area where it plans to drill–which is something companies didn’t have to do before BP’s (BP) spill at the Macondo well in the Gulf. [Wall Street Journal]

AMAZON’S APP STORE WILL CONFUSE CUSTOMERS according to Apple, which is suing Amazon (AMZN) for using the term “App Store” for its online store where consumers can buy applications for mobile devices. Apple (AAPL) registered to trade mark the App Store name back in 2008. [Wall Street Journal]

IN OTHER TECH LAWSUIT NEWS Microsoft (MSFT) is suing Barnes & Noble over its e-book the Nook. Microsoft claims  that Google’s Android operating system, which the Nook runs, infringes various Microsoft patents. [BBC]

THE PET MEDICINE COMPANY THAT NEVER WAS Merck (MRK) and Sanofi-Aventis disbanded plans to join together to make the world’s biggest pet and livestock medicine company. Part of the reason they’re not going through with it, the companies said in a joint statement, is because the process of getting regulatory approval was becoming too daunting. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

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