Trying to Use Anti-trust in the information age

Knowledge@Wharton has an interesting summary article (Regulating the Information Railways? Antitrust Law in the High-Tech Era) on the problems of anti-trust law in the modern age. The author deftly summarizes the two big areas of current anti-trust action: Microsoft and the telephone/telecommunication system. He concludes that the telephone or ‘last mile’ system is more amenable to anti-trust action because the networks were developed by AT&T as part of a protected monopoly and thus, in some sense, belong to the public already. The problem is who will pay for the upgrades to these systems.

The Microsoft case is harder, not because MS isn’t a monopoly, but because of the rapidity of technological change. The remedies for Microsoft’s crimes are too-large, and too-late; the problem has already been superseded.