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United States v. Microsoft: An Economic Analysis

Franklin M. Fisher

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Daniel L. Rubinfeld

University of California at Berkeley - School of Law; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); NYU Law School

Antitrust Bulletin, 2001

In May, 1998, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the Microsoft Corporation claiming a number of violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. The case was tried from October 19, 1998 through June 24, 1999. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled as to the findings of fact on November 5, 1999 and conclusions of law on April 3, 2000. As this paper is drafted, the remedy phase of the trial is about to begin. If the case does not settle, the appeals process will follow.

This paper presents perspective and commentary on the economic issues from the viewpoint of two economists who were active in the case. Fisher was one of the U.S. Government's economic witnesses at the trial, and this paper is based in part on his testimony. Rubinfeld was Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) for Economics in the Antitrust Division during much of the investigation, and DAAG and then consultant for the U.S. Government during the trial. Our roles as testifying expert and chief economist at the Antitrust Division, respectively, carry with them the advantage of seeing the issues from the inside as participants, and the disadvantage that one's perspective is inevitably affected by one's own viewpoint. Because our goal is to explicate the merits of the Government's case and to highlight important issues, we are hopeful that the advantages will outweigh any disadvantages. Most of what follows summarizes our views at the time of trial; subsections that contain retrospective commentary are starred.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 91

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Date posted: November 29, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Fisher, Franklin M. and Rubinfeld, Daniel L., United States v. Microsoft: An Economic Analysis. Antitrust Bulletin, 2001. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=247520 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.247520

Contact Information

Franklin M. Fisher (Contact Author)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-864-3752 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/ffisher/www
Daniel L. Rubinfeld
University of California at Berkeley - School of Law ( email )
215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
(510) 642-1959 (Phone)
(510) 642-3767 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/faculty/rubinfeldd
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
NYU Law School ( email )
44 West Fourth Street, Suite 9-53
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States
(212) 992 8834 (Phone)
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