I Blew It On Microsoft

Competition Policy and Antitrust

Article Snapshot


Lawrence Lessig


Wired magazine, Issue 15.01, January 2007


This article asks how noncommercial entities can affect competition in technology markets.

Policy Relevance

Competition can come from unexpected directions, including technology built by volunteers or local governments. Policymakers should not block these ventures.

Main Points

  • At the time of the government’s antitrust suit again Microsoft, it did not seem like a nonprofit venture like Linux could ever offer effective competition against  a commercial firm. Today, though, Linux does compete with Microsoft.

  • Today, many people are concerned that there is not enough competition between different broadband networks. Network neutrality regulations, which would prevent large broadband network operators like cable television and telecommunications firms from using their networks to harm competition, have been proposed as a solution.

  • Broadband networks funded and operated by towns and cities can compete with private broadband networks.

  • Wireless networks set up by users also compete with the large broadband networks. It is important that these remain legal.

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