PC Week: ‘Remedy,’ not ‘punishment,’ is the goal

“Dispute is already arising about the nature of the
Department of Justice’s recommendations in the Microsoft antitrust
case. That dispute would disappear if people stopped talking about
“punishment” and instead focused on “remedy” as the goal.”

“PC Week’s editors have recommended breaking up Microsoft into
an operating systems company and an applications company, not with
a goal of punishing the company — but with a goal of restoring
competition to the IT marketplace. Yes, this recommendation might
initially create two near-monopolies in their respective markets,
but the existence of monopoly power is not against the law. It is
the abuse of monopoly that violates antitrust statutes, and that
(more to the point) harms markets and therefore harms PC Week’s

“…a near-monopoly of the operating system market and a
near-monopoly of the productivity applications market might well
persist following a two-tiered breakup of the company… The point
is that these hypothetical market-dominating positions would have
to be defended by legitimate means — by continued innovation and
attention to customer satisfaction, rather than by tactics enabled
by the present vertical integration of Microsoft’s platform and
application technologies.”


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