The Economics of the Microsoft Case

28 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2002

See all articles by Timothy Bresnahan

Timothy Bresnahan

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 2002


This paper explains the economics of Microsoft's anticompetitive actions, both the goal of suppressing Schumpeterian competition and the methods of denying widespread distribution to innovative new technologies. An understanding of the economics of the industry supports the logic of the government's antitrust case against Microsoft. Competition in the short run is limited by the network effects surrounding products like Microsoft Windows. Competition in the long run is far more feasible, but not automatic. The purpose of Microsoft's anticompetitive actions was to prevent widespread distribution of innovative technologies whose market success would have fostered long run competition. With that analysis in hand, this paper examines the effects of Microsoft's anticompetitive acts on the industry to determine whether and how the suppression was harmful to users of computers.

Suggested Citation

Bresnahan, Timothy F., The Economics of the Microsoft Case (March 2002). Available at SSRN: or

Timothy F. Bresnahan (Contact Author)

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