An Economist's Guide to U.S. v. Microsoft
The Microsoft antitrust case focused public attention on the role of antitrust enforcement in preserving the forces of innovation in high-technology markets. Traditionally, regulators focused on whether companies artificially hiked prices or reduced output. Now, they're increasingly likely to look first at whether corporate behavior aids or impedes innovation. In this paper, we examine whether innovation has displaced short-term price effects as the focus of antitrust enforcement by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission and, to the extent that it has, whether enforcement actions are any different as a result. We also ask whether enforcement actions in the area of intellectual property and innovation have been consistent with the 1995 DOJ/FTC Antitrust Guidelines for the Licensing of Intellectual Property [IP Guidelines]. Finally, we consider whether recent enforcement actions identify key areas in which additional guidance from the Agencies would be desirable. We address these questions first in merger cases and then in non-merger cases.
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