Antitrust in the High‐Tech Marketplace: The Real Irrational Exuberance?
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The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division appears prepared to block Oracle’s proposed $7.3 billion merger with PeopleSoft on the grounds of monopoly power in “business enterprise software.” Similarly, a merger between EchoStar and DirecTV was halted. State attorneys general and even the European Union are increasingly scrutinizing mergers in the technology sector. Clearly, the Microsoft settlement did not end antitrust activism.
If Washington policymakers conclude that the technology marketplace is incapable of policing itself and that corporate breakup or aggressive market‐definition policies qualify as sensible public policy, then what government intervention in the technology sector markets is off limits? Many economists object to such intervention in new business models—especially when the theories behind intervention are themselves highly questionable.
What does the future hold for technology companies and the competitive environment? Join us as our panelists analyze and debate the broader role of antitrust policy in the high‐tech economy and a possible reform agenda.