“High-Tech” Antitrust: Incoherent, Misguided, Obsolete, or None of the Above? Comments on Crandall-Jackson and Wright
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That prominent antitrust cases have been in the “high-tech” arena is not surprising, since high-tech industries are often susceptible to the scale economies that lead to highly concentrated or monopoly markets. Crandall and Jackson’s observations on the IBM case are on point. Regarding AT&T, the salient observation is that recent changes in legal doctrine may make it impossible to bring antitrust cases in regulated industries. The problem with the Microsoft case was not that it was right or wrong, but that it was fundamentally incoherent. Wright’s critique of the Federal Trade Commission’s case against Intel is problematic because buyers in exclusion cases tend to be better off, not victims as they would be under collusion or anticompetitive mergers. As these observations apply more generally to cases in sectors that are not associated with high-tech, I offer a few thoughts on some antitrust issues that are particular to high-tech sectors, specifically how the prospect of innovation could affect market definition in merger cases and, more broadly, whether dynamic efficiencies reduce the need for antitrust enforcement.
KeywordsMonopolization Regulation Microsoft Loyalty discounts Exclusion Antitrust and innovation
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