The Post's Oct. 15 front-page story, "Microsoft Targets Funding for Antitrust Office," presented the news that Microsoft is lobbying against a 16 percent increase in funding for antitrust prosecution.

Microsoft's court battle is a showcase for the evils of antitrust. It is a case begun on behalf of competitors and is based on the claim that Microsoft can "force" everyone else out of competition -- at the same time that competition with Microsoft is reaching new heights. The trustbusters want to punish Microsoft for giving away free products and adding new features to its operating system. In short, the antitrust division's motives are questionable and would punish a successful company for the crime of offering a better product.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Microsoft should oppose rewarding the Justice Department with a fat budget increase.

What's shocking is not that a victim of antitrust is trying to fight back but that even with the smaller, House-approved budget increase, the trustbusters still will have $105 million left to use against new victims.

ROBERT W. TRACINSKI

Chairman

Center for the Moral Defense of Capitalism

Spotsylvania

I would have happily signed a letter urging a cap on the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division budget if I'd been asked ["Hardball and Windows," op-ed, Oct. 19].

Antitrust law is routinely exploited to forcibly transfer wealth from successful companies to less successful ones, which invites political rather than market entrepreneurship. The result is that consumers pay more.

Ironically, in the perverse world of antitrust tinkering, increasing the Department of Justice's antitrust regulation budget could be best for Microsoft. Washington has no shortage of lawyers eager to launch an equally excruciating and distracting case against Microsoft's biggest competitor, America Online. AOL quite ably "monopolizes" Internet access and portal services.

When that happens, we will defend AOL as well. But we would have preferred to see the DOJ budget cut instead.

WAYNE CREWS Jr.

Director, Competition and Regulation Policy

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington