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In just 10 years, the world’s five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.
They’re all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.
In a 1956 consent decree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: All past patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.
True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability. And Google’s route to dominance is different from the Bell System’s. Nevertheless it still has all of the characteristics of a public utility.
Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, “If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government.” We ignore his words at our peril.
Wonder if you read the article or are merely commenting on the thread topic.Commenting on the thread topic. That's allowed right :)
joined:Oct 19, 2014