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The Microsoft Case: What Can a Dominant Firm Do to Defend Its Market Position?

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  • Benjamin Klein

Abstract

This paper examines the competitive actions taken by Microsoft in its "browser war" with Netscape, most importantly Microsoft's decisions to give away Explorer free of charge, integrate Explorer into its dominant Windows operating system and pay online service providers for exclusive distribution. Consumers benefited significantly from these actions, but the fundamental economic question is whether Microsoft abused its existing market power when competing in this way. A detailed analysis of Microsoft's conduct and the economics of competition for distribution suggests that severe limits placed on Microsoft's behavior would not be welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Klein, 2001. "The Microsoft Case: What Can a Dominant Firm Do to Defend Its Market Position?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 45-62, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:15:y:2001:i:2:p:45-62
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.15.2.45
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.15.2.45
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Whinston, Michael D, 1990. "Tying, Foreclosure, and Exclusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 837-859, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Török, Ádám, 2011. "A dominanciaproblémák tényeinek értelmezése és a közgazdaság-tudományi módszertan
      [Interpretation of the facts of dominance problems and the methodology of economics]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 41-55.
    2. Hal R. Varian, 2001. "High-technology industries and market structure," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 65-101.
    3. Radke, Marc-Peter, 2001. "Law and economics of Microsoft vs. U.S. Department of Justice - New paradigm for antitrust in network markets or inefficient lock-in of antitrust policy?," Violette Reihe: Schriftenreihe des Promotionsschwerpunkts "Globalisierung und Beschäftigung" 16/2001, University of Hohenheim, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Evangelisches Studienwerk.
    4. Jonathan B. Baker, 2003. "The Case for Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 27-50, Fall.
    5. Bryan Pon & Timo Seppälä & Martin Kenney, 2015. "One Ring to Unite Them All: Convergence, the Smartphone, and the Cloud," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 21-33, March.
    6. Leonhard Dobusch & Elke Schüßler, 2013. "Theorizing path dependence: a review of positive feedback mechanisms in technology markets, regional clusters, and organizations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 617-647, June.
    7. Avdasheva, Svetlana, 2016. "Vertical Restraints in B2B Contracts: The Impact of Competition and Competitiveness," Working Papers 3053, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    8. Joshua Wright, 2011. "Does Antitrust Enforcement in High Tech Markets Benefit Consumers? Stock Price Evidence from FTC v. Intel," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 38(4), pages 387-404, June.
    9. Steven J. Davis & Jack MacCrisken & Kevin M. Murphy, 2001. "Economic Perspectives on Software Design: PC Operating Systems and Platforms," NBER Working Papers 8411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Pollock, Rufus, 2005. "The Control of Porting in Two-Sided Markets," MPRA Paper 5023, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2007.
    11. Pier Luigi Parcu, 2006. "European dominant position and american monopolization: a unifying approach from basic game theory," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 59(237), pages 171-192.
    12. Zigic, Kresimir & Maçi, Ilir, 2011. "Competition policy and market leaders," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 1042-1049, May.
    13. Christian Genthon, 2007. "Can we measure Microsoft's market power ?," Post-Print halshs-00153837, HAL.
    14. Hoppe, Heidrun C. & Lee, In Ho, 2003. "Entry deterrence and innovation in durable-goods monopoly," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(6), pages 1011-1036, December.
    15. Pier Luigi Parcu, 2006. "European dominant position and american monopolization: a unifying approach from basic game theory," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 59(237), pages 171-192.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices

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