Same Old Song and Dance from the DOJ

Monday the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will hear oral arguments in the case of U.S. v. Microsoft. The arguments are only the latest step in the federal government’s campaign to micro-manage the development of new technology and to punish Microsoft for improving its products while lowering prices.

The Department of Justice and 19 state attorneys general erroneously contend that a court-appointed break-up would improve competition and best serve consumers. However, the likely outcome of government intervention would be increased prices and limited choices for consumers.

The so-called remedies proposed by the government include everything from a wholesale breakup of the company to federal control of day-to-day business practices and future versions of Windows.

The DOJ’s case against Microsoft sends a discouraging message to innovators and entrepreneurs. It is also the catalyst for a rash of class-action lawsuits that threaten the software marketplace.

The oral arguments will present a clear message. For the government prosecutors, it is the same old song: More regulation to “manage and improve” competition. At CSE, we recognize this siren song. It is a call for limits on innovation, few consumer choices and higher prices.