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In quest of profits: legal and ethical implications facing Microsoft

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Despite its wide acceptance in economics, the fundamental tenet of the theory of the firm is not without its critics. Questions related to the nature and role of the firm, its objectives, responsibilities and behavior have fueled much of the recent debate. Today, firms are being evaluated and scrutinized not merely on their economic performance, but also by the ethical standards they uphold. The case brought against Microsoft is an example of the tangled web that characterizes the economic, legal and ethical dimensions of business operations. This paper shows that as an economic entity, Microsoft employed strategies that were consistent with its long-run objective of profit maximization. In so doing, however, Microsoft violated anti-trust laws and was charged with illegal conduct. Despite the court ruling, economic and legal justifications continue to be a subject of debate amongst the different entities involved in this case. More so when ethical implications are considered, consensus becomes even harder to reach due to the subjective nature of the judgement.
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Keywords: Company performance; Ethics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-05-01

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