Klein Defends Federal Intervention in Free Market

Joel I. Klein J.D. '71, who leads the government's anti-trust case against Microsoft, yesterday defended federal intervention in the free market in an address at Harvard Law School.

Klein, who is the Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the antitrust division of the Department of Justice, convinced a federal judge last week that the Microsoft Corporation had violated U.S. anti-trust laws.

Expanding on comments he issued the day of the decision, Klein said Microsoft was able to dictate to computer manufactures what software they could and could not include with their computers.


He said their tactic was simple: they manipulated the price of the Windows operating system to punish reluctant computer companies into complying with Microsoft policies.

"There's nothing new here. The tactics went back to classic anti-trust cases," Klein said. "This was straightforward intimidation."

Klein has faced criticism from business interests and academia.

They say Klein and his prosecutors have zealously targeted "new economy" businesses, even as prices dropped and consumer choice has increased.

Klein also faced criticism that technology improves so quickly the legal system cannot keep pace--changes in web browser and software technology may render any Microsoft remedy obsolete as soon as it is implemented.

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