Thesis Statement: Technological advancement will restructure business law in America.
3. Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914
2.Do antitrust laws pertain to todays technology
III. Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
The Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson
1. Plaintiffs failed to prove an unlawful tying arrangement in violation of Section One of the Sherman Act
2. Plaintiffs failed to prove that Microsoft entered into unlawful exclusive dealing agreements in violation of Section One of the Sherman Act
3. Microsoft had no duty to pre-disclose information
Because the field of Business Law is so great, this paper will examine a single aspect of Business Law, that of antitrust action. Specifically, as it is applied to Microsoft, antitrust litigation is raising eyebrows in both the legal and business worlds.
There is a hue and cry that antitrust laws as they exist today have outlived their usefulness when applied to cyber commodities and artificial intelligence.
This paper will present those opposing viewpoints and attempt to answer the question: are laws wrought in the industrial age applicable to todays technology? And if so, is the antitrust challenge to Microsoft the tip of the iceberg in Business Law reformation?
Antitrust law attempts to ensure that market competition is protected from an organization or cartel with a monopoly on a given product. Much of antitrust enforcement tries to create a balance between the benefits of coordination and consolidation, such as efficiencies that reduce price or improve quality, and the detriments of market power that can lead to higher prices or reduced innovation.
Corporate trusts grew rapidly in the US from 1880 to 1905, creating the atmosphere for President Theodore Roosevelt to launch his now famous trust busting campaigns. The era of antitrust legislation stems from the Sherman Act of 1890. The antitrust laws were based on the constitutional power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. It declared illegal every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of interstate and foreign trade.
The Sherman Act makes monopolization illegal. The two elements of monopolization are: “(1) the possession of monopoly power in the relevant market and (2) the willful acquisition or maintenance of the power as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historical accident.” 1 The Sherman Act was designed to eliminate restraints on trade and competition. It is the main source of antitrust law.
While the Sherman Act provided protection against monopolies, Congress determined that it wasnt quite comprehensive in its self. It was supplemented in 1914 by the Clayton Antitrust Act, which prohibited exclusive sales contracts, inter-corporate stockholdings, and unfair price-cutting to freeze out competitors.
The Clayton Act of
1914 makes price discrimination illegal, forbids tying arrangements involving only goods and makes anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions illegal. The Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts were made to promote competition between companies making similar products.2 To assure the effectiveness of these laws, the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 established the body of overseers that govern unfair and unlawful trade practices. The provision surrounding unfair price cutting was strengthened under the terms of the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936. 3
There have been many amendments to these laws over the years. An early federal success came with the Supreme Court decision of 1911 that forced the giant Standard Oil Company to split up into independent entities.
4 Antitrust action declined in the 1920s, but was vigorously resumed in the 1930s under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Antitrust legislation held firm for several decades. The Tunney Act of 1974 established public notice and judicial oversight procedures regarding consent decrees entered into by the government to settle antitrust cases. 5 antitrust enforcement was again de-emphasized in the 1980s under Presidents Reagan and Bush.
The growth of huge conglomerates that control multiple companies has hindered the enforcement of antitrust legislation.
With growing unpopularity, antitrust laws have been criticized for hindering the ability of US corporations to compete internationally. There has also been extreme impact on US shores. The Microsoft Antitrust Suit has not only rocked the company, but the entire computer industry, the stock market, and the US justice system as well.
Back in 1975, an intense, visionary man who co-owned a small firm in a budding industry imagined a future where people at every .