Re: Merge Intel & Microsoft

Eric Watt Forste (
Fri, 01 Oct 1999 13:08:47 -0700

Apparently Robin Hanson writes:
> Intel and Microsoft both seem to have strong near-
> monopoly market power, and their products are clearly
> strong complements. So the standard industrial
> organization analysis would suggest that merging them
> would produce lower prices *and* more profits for the
> merged firm. Perhaps weak competitors to them
> would lose, such as Apple or TI, but one expects
> huge welfare gains for all from cheaper computers.

The problem with such a merger in the current intellectual-property environment is the problem of "proprietary standards", which should be more widely recognized as the contradictio in adjectio it is. Technological interoperability standards have become vastly more important with the proliferation of electronic communications, and the economic function they need to serve is at direct odds with the economic function intended for intellectual property.

Until our social institutions for sorting out interoperability standards from intellectual property (some of us would like to see them firewalled from one another) have been somewhat reformed, I could not in good conscience support such a merger.

Eric Watt Forste  <>