UCL Faculty of Laws


The Microsoft antitrust cases: retrospective and prospective

04 February 2015, 5:00 pm–7:30 pm


Event Information

Open to



UCL Centre for Law, Economics & Society


UCL Graduate Wing, 1-2 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H 0EG


  • Andrew I. Gavil, Professor, Howard University School of Law and former Director, Office of Policy Planning at Federal Trade Commission
  • Harry First, Charles L. Denison Professor of Law. Co-Director, Competition, Innovation, and Information Law Program. New York University School of Law


  • Christian Ahlborn Partner, Linklaters
  • Ian S. Forrester Partner, White & Case
  • Thomas Vinje Partner, Clifford Chance


  • Ioannis Lianos Professor of Global Competition Law and Policy, and Director, UCL Centre for Law, Economics and Society

Fees: £20 for standard tickets, concessions are available
Accreditation: 2.5 CPD hours by the SRA / BSB

Organised by the UCL Centre for Law, Economics & Society

About the event

The Microsoft antitrust saga has been a defining moment in the evolution of US and European competition law in the era of post-1990s information and Internet revolution. Its influence on the design of modern competition law standards for monopolization/abuse of dominance has been remarkable. In addition to its economic significance, the case has also provided one of the first examples of the challenges that globalization and the diffusion of competition law set to competition law enforcement, including the need to manage the interaction between various institutions of enforcement at a global scale.

In their remarkable study of the Microsoft antitrust cases, professors Andrew I. Gavil and Harry First provide extremely valuable insights into the significance of this case for competition law and policy in the 21st century. The conference will provide an opportunity to engage with the argument of the authors and hear from some key players in the development of the Microsoft cases their retrospective on the case and their prospective analysis on its implications for competition law enforcement.

Overview of the book from the publisher’s website: mitpress.mit.edu/books/microsoft-antitrust-cases

For more than two decades, the U.S. Department of Justice, various states, the European Commission, and many private litigants pursued antitrust actions against the tech giant Microsoft. In investigating and prosecuting Microsoft, federal and state prosecutors were playing their traditional role of reining in a corporate power intent on eliminating competition. Seen from another perspective, however, the government’s prosecution of Microsoft—in which it deployed the century-old Sherman Antitrust Act in the volatile and evolving global business environment of the digital era—was unprecedented.

In this book, two experts on competition policy offer a comprehensive account of the multiple antitrust actions against Microsoft–from beginning to end—and an assessment of the effectiveness of antitrust law in the twenty-first century. Gavil and First describe in detail the cases that the Department of Justice and the states initiated in 1998, accusing Microsoft of obstructing browser competition and perpetuating its Windows monopoly. They cover the private litigation that followed, and the European Commission cases decided in 2004 and 2009. They also consider broader issues of competition policy in the age of globalisation, addressing the adequacy of today’s antitrust laws, their enforcement by multiple parties around the world, and the difficulty of obtaining effective remedies—all lessons learned from the Microsoft cases.