Microsoft Did Nothing Wrong

Click for audio Microsoft Did Nothing Wrong

The citizens of Michigan should take careful note of federal judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's ruling against Microsoft last month. It amounts to saying that in America today, it's against the law to be too successful.

Nowhere does Judge Jackson contend that Microsoft committed fraud, stole, coerced, broke contracts, or threatened anyone or any company with harm. Microsoft neither took advantage of regulations nor benefited from subsidies.

What it did do is refuse to share technical information with a competitor, something any company would have done. Microsoft didn't charge for some of its software, just like Burger King gives you a large drink with its Value Meal. Finally, Microsoft required its customers to use its web browser in order to get other free stuff—just like you have to buy Cheerios in order to get the free decoder ring.

So, what is Microsoft's real crime? Being too successful. As the company's products have become more excellent, their cost has plummeted. This makes competitors very upset. And when rivals can't compete in the marketplace, they go to the courts.

If this decision stands, Americans shouldn't be surprised if, in the future, they find themselves paying much higher prices for much poorer quality computer products.

For the Mackinac Center, I'm Catherine Martin.