Microsoft: Predator or Prey?

Robert W. Hahn

University of Oxford, Smith School; Georgetown University

Peter Passell

Milken Institute

April 2008

Reg-Markets Center Policy Matters No. PM08-04

In February, the European Competition Commission fined Microsoft $1.35 billion in what was just the latest in a long line of antitrust cases against the company. Ironically, though, whatever market power Microsoft possessed was already ebbing by the time the company became mired in legal battles with regulators over which software applications could be bundled with operating systems. The real story here is the ever-briefer period in which companies with clear leads in technology and marketing seem able to sustain the advantages. Treating Microsoft, Google, and their successors like the monopolists of yore would be a real loss to advanced industrial economies, which are increasingly dependent on rapid technological change to sustain growth. As a consequence, antitrust policy built around traditional tests of market power are at best a way to keep lawyers well remunerated and, more likely, a significant barrier to productive change.

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Date posted: April 7, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Hahn, Robert W. and Passell, Peter, Microsoft: Predator or Prey? (April 2008). Reg-Markets Center Policy Matters No. PM08-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1116246 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1116246

Contact Information

Robert W. Hahn (Contact Author)
University of Oxford, Smith School ( email )
United Kingdom
Georgetown University
Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
Washington, DC 20057
United States
Peter Passell
Milken Institute ( email )
1250 Fourth Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
United States
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