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The New Antitrust: Reexamining Microsoft and Other Consent Decrees

Thursday December 2007


Richard A. Epstein Visiting Scholar, Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

While the antitrust consent decree has gained recent prominence through the federal action against Microsoft, the consent decree has been a major antitrust enforcement weapon for over a century. In a luncheon lecture concluding the Center for Legal Policy’s fall series “Law, Litigation, and State Power,” Manhattan Institute visiting scholar Richard Epstein will examine consent decrees’ use and effectiveness, both historically and analytically.

As he explicated in detail last year in his book Antitrust Consent Decrees in Theory and Practice: Why Less Is More, Professor Epstein is generally a critic of aggressive antitrust remedies absent a particularized case of wrongful conduct. His book applied his broader theory in some detail and included an in-depth look at both the AT&Tbreak-up and the Microsoft consent decree. His lecture will touch upon these themes as well as more recent developments, including the renewal of the Microsoft consent decree.