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Joe Nocera

Facebook, Amazon and Google Emails Make an Antitrust Case

Documents from a recent congressional hearing bear a striking resemblance to those from the Microsoft trial in the 1990s.

Jeff Bezos on the grill.

Jeff Bezos on the grill.

Photographer: Pool/Getty Images


In the late 1990s, when David Boies prosecuted the Microsoft antitrust trial, he told me that despite the thousands of documents, emails and deposition transcripts that were rolled into court each day, no more than 50 were the key to the government’s case. He memorized them and knew right where to find them if he needed them in the middle of a cross-examination.

Of those 50, maybe two dozen were the kind you just don’t forget — bald, vivid illustrations of what the government hoped to prove: that Microsoft was using its monopoly power to squeeze Netscape, the upstart browser company that Microsoft viewed as a potential threat to its Windows monopoly.