Rev Ind Organ (2011) 38:311–317
Introduction: Antitrust and the Dynamics
of Competition in High-Tech Industries
Thomas M. Lenard
Published online: 12 May 2011
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011
The papers in this issue were presented at the Technology Policy Institute’s confer-
ence, “Antitrust and the Dynamics of Competition in High-Tech Industries,” which
took place on October 22, 2010 in Washington DC.
The potential importance of antitrust to the technology sectors of the economy, and
by extension to the entire economy, was highlighted in the ﬁrst major speech given
by the current head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, Christine Varney,
shortly after taking ofﬁce:
Americans are relying on high-tech solutions in the home and the workplace
and enjoying the fruits of innovation in those markets that have been spurred on
by competition between rival ﬁrms. We thus plan to devote attention to under-
standing the unique competition-related issues posed by these markets. In the
past, the Antitrust Division was a leader in its enforcement efforts in technology
industries, and I believe we will take this mantle again. In so doing, I am cogni-
zant that we must ﬁnd the right balance to ensure that when intellectual property
is at issue, competition is not thwarted through its misuse or illegal extension.
Finding the right balance is indeed the crucial issue, because the economic effects
of any enforcement decision extend beyond the particular transaction or single-ﬁrm
behavior at hand. Arguably the most important effect, particularly in the rapidly chang-
ing technology industries, comes from the signals that these actions send as to how
the enforcement agencies will view future transactions.
For example, the threat of
blocking vertical acquisitions by ﬁrms that have become dominant signals to start-ups
This point is also made by Owen (2011).
T. M. Lenard (
Technology Policy Institute, 1401 Eye Street, NW, Suite 505, Washington, DC 20005, USA