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The Case Against Microsoft: An Ethical Perspective

Spinello, Richard, "The Case Against Microsoft: An Ethical Perspective" . Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 12, pp. 116-132, April 2003 Available at SSRN:


    This paper discusses the complex Microsoft anti-trust trial and the company's questionable behavior during the browser wars with Netscape. It reviews the essentials of the legal case against Microsoft along with the company's efforts to refute the charges against it, including the presumption of monopoly power. After laying the groundwork by providing conceptual background on the notion of fair competition, the paper turns to an ethical analysis of Microsoft's conduct. We conclude that Microsoft's behavior was excessively opportunistic during the browser wars. The company did not compete constructively or positively, but instead sought to undermine the competitive process. It also developed biased software code that tilted the playing field in its direction. These actions caused harm to the company's stakeholders by obstructing consumer choice and impeding innovation.
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