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The Microsoft Case

Antitrust, High Technology, and Consumer Welfare

The Microsoft Case

Antitrust, High Technology, and Consumer Welfare

In 1998, the United States Department of Justice and state antitrust agencies charged that Microsoft was monopolizing the market for personal computer operating systems.  More than ten years later, the case is still the defining antitrust litigation of our era.  William H. Page and John E. Lopatka’s The Microsoft Case contributes to the debate over the future of antitrust policy by examining the implications of the litigation from the perspective of consumer welfare. 

The authors trace the development of the case from its conceptual origins through the trial and the key decisions on both liability and remedies.  They argue that, at critical points, the legal system failed consumers by overrating government’s ability to influence outcomes in a dynamic market. This ambitious book is essential reading for business, law, and economics scholars as well as anyone else interested in the ways that technology, economics, and antitrust law have interacted in the digital age.

“This book will become the gold standard for analysis of the monopolization cases against Microsoft. . . . No serious student of law or economic policy should go without reading it.”—Thomas C. Arthur, Emory University

317 pages | 2 halftones, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2007

Economics and Business: Business--Business Economics and Management Studies

History: American History

Law and Legal Studies: Law and Economics, Law and Society, Legal History, Legal Thought


“[Page and Lopatka] present a detailed summary of the parties’ strategies and of the legal decisions (primarily the federal case); sketch the economics (network effects, path dependencies); and analyze various proposed remedies (conduct, structure). The book also includes an excellent, detailed summary of the US legal issues in the Department of Justice prosecution of Microsoft. . . . Highly recommended.”


"[This book] provides a sophisticated understanding of the antitrust prosecution of the U.S. Justice Department mounted against the Microsoft computer company in 1998. The authors incisively analyze the leading decisions and remedial orders from some 150 opinions. . . . Economists, law and economics experts, lawyers, judges, and historians will find the analytical theories to be sound, innovative, and presented quite accessibly."

Tony A. Freyer | Business History Review

"The Microsoft Case is far more than a source. It’s also a coherent analysis by two economically literate legal scholars who are obviously doing their best to present an unbiased account."

David R. Henderson | Regulation

Table of Contents


1. Origins
Ideological Sources of Antimonopolization Law
Microsoft’s Predecessors: The Public Monopolization Case
Microsoft’s Beginnings: A Post-Chicago Convergence

2. Decisions
The Liability Decisions
The Remedial Decisions
The Follow-on Private Litigation
The European Commission Decision

3. Markets
Two Systems of Belief about Operating Systems and Middleware
Network Effects and Related Economic Concepts
Defining Software Markets

4. Practices I: Integration
A Preliminary Skirmish
Integration on Trial
Rethinking and Redefining Integration under Sherman Act Standards

5. Practices II: The Market Division Proposal, Exclusive Contracts, and Java
The Market Division Proposal
The Exclusive Contracts

6. Remedies
The Goals of Antitrust Remedies
Structural Remedies
Conduct Remedies
Damage Remedies


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