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Gary Reback has written a book that reads like an extended love letter to antitrust law. In his world, antitrust seemingly has no costs, no downsides, no trade-offs. It is our salvation and he serves as its high prophet. Everything good that happened in the world of high-tech over the past few decades? Oh, you can thank Almighty Antitrust for that. Anything bad that happened? Well, then, clearly there just wasn't enough antitrust enforcement! That's this book in a nutshell.
There's no mention of the deadweight loss to society associated with years and years of legal wrangling that accompanies antitrust lawsuits. Reback just sweeps all that under the rug -- and why wouldn't he as an antitrust lawyer! But those costs on the economy and innovation are real. There's also no serious mention of how antitrust law has all too often been used as weapon by disgruntled marketplace competitors to hobble rivals using such legal tactics. Reback gives the same lip service to antitrust being about "protecting consumers" as many other defenders do, but all too often his book -- like antitrust law itself -- sounds more like a defense of certain companies, industry sectors, or old ways of doing business.
It sure would have been nice for him to address the other side of the story in a serious way.
You can read my complete review of the book at the Technology Liberation Front blog: http://techliberation.com/2009/09/20/gary-rebacks-antitrust-love-letter
 

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