Six Years Later: The Impact of the Evolution of the IT Ecosystem

Intellectual Property and Competition Policy and Antitrust

Article Snapshot


Marco Iansiti and Gregory L. Richards


Antitrust Law Journal, ABA, Vol. 75, No. 3, 2009; conference paper, Searle Symposium, "The End of the Microsoft Antitrust Case?"


This paper looks at how software completion has changed since 2002.

Policy Relevance

Microsoft now faces many competitors offering Internet-based services. Policymakers should consider these changes in revising antitrust decrees entered in the earlier suit against Microsoft.

Main Points

  • Software “platforms” like Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s OS X offer building blocks for others, including software developers, as well as end computer users.

  • The court order entered in the antitrust case against Microsoft in 2002 was intended to improve competition in “middleware,” software that serves end users, providing web browsing, email, messaging, or playing music and movies.

  • Increasingly, Internet-based platforms like Facebook and Google offer developers and consumers an alternative to relying on Microsoft’s Windows.
    • Many Internet-based tools and technologies work with any operating system.
    • Internet advertising revenue generates considerable revenue for market leaders like Google.

  • New media players such as the iPod also offer alternatives.

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