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Evaluating Product Integration: Lessons from U.S. v Microsoft

FRANKLIN M. FISHER Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics MARY BETH SAVIO Charles River Associates, Incorporated - General

Abstract:

    Fisher was the principal economic witness for the Antitrust Division in "U.S. v. Microsoft," and Savio was his chief private staff assistant. This paper broaches the question of how product integration in innovative industries should be evaluated when there are tying claims. Despite Microsoft's assertion to the contrary, the correct standard cannot be one that shelters actions with anticompetitive effects, no matter how large, as long as they are accompanied by "innovations" that bring any consumer benefits, no matter how small. Instead, this paper describes a simple and uniform approach that analyzes product design in the same way as other possibly anticompetitive conduct by asking whether the defendant firm would have engaged in the conduct in question regardless of the monopoly rents to be gained or protected by the conduct's effect on competition. This paper also describes how this approach was applied by both Fisher and Judge Jackson in "U.S. v. Microsoft."
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