Big Tech *does* have network effects, but these are actually a tool that can be used to *dismantle* monopolies. Network effects are double-edged swords: if a service gets more valuable as users join, it also gets *less* valuable as users *leave*.
If you want to understand the anticompetitive structure of the tech industry, you'd be better off analyzing *switching costs*, not network effects. Switching costs are the things you have to give up when you leave a service behind.
These monopolies all follow Big Tech's template of mobilizing monopoly rents to buy or crush all competition.
The differences between the anticompetitive tactics that monopolized these industries are largely cosmetic - swap out a few details and you might well be describing how John D Rockefeller and Standard Oil monopolized the oil markets in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
These are the same tactics that every monopolist uses - high-stakes moneyball that creates a "kill-zone" around the monopolist's line of business that only a fool would try to enter. Tech DOES have network effects, but that's not what's behind tech monopolies.
We see monopolies in industries from bookselling to eyeglasses, accounting to cheerleading uniforms, pro wrestling to energy, beer to health insurance.
Google's scale is driven by acquisitions - Search and Gmail are Google's only successful in-house products. Everything else, from Android to Youtube to the ad-tech stack, was once a standalone business that Google captured.
Monopolies extract monopoly rents - like those delivered by Googbook's crooked ad-tech marketplaces, or Apple/Google's 30% app shakedown - and use them to maintain their monopolies. Google gives Apple billions every year so it will be the default Ios and Safari search.
Tech monopoly apologists insist there's something exceptional about tech that makes it so concentrated: "network effects" (when a product gets better because more people use it, like a social media service).
Tech is concentrated because the Big Tech companies buy up or crush their nascent competitors - think of Facebook's predatory acquisition of Instagram, which Zuckerberg admitted (in writing!) was driven by a desire to recapture the users who were leaving FB in droves.
@imani makes a powerful analogy: Corporations behave (are *constructed deliberately* to behave) as callous, self-maximising, humanity-indifferent artificial intelligence.
“Corporations run on a form of code – financial regulation and accounting practices – and the modern version of this code literally prohibits corporations from treating human beings with empathy.”
As Imani points out, we as a society choose what code those corporations run.
F-L-I-C-C - The most common disinformation ploys. New infographic in poster format
It sure is! And it wouldn't be that horrible if nearly EVERY SINGLE government & business ENTITIY on earth didn't require internet connectivity (as well as smart phones) for people to access them. THAT'S where I'd like to see some decent regulation. How about requiring those entities to have non-Internet, non-smartphone access for all customers? It's great to embrace future technologies but throwing out the old tried and true to do so is absurd.
@pluralistic once again pointing out the Supreme Court deciding to overrule congress's Telecommunications Act of 1996 in Verizon vs FCC (2002), and deciding that fiber didn't have to be common carrier, deciding that companies had monopoly rights.
since monopolies own most of the local infrastructure, & don't have to share, there's little incentive for other players to come in & improve local situations, to wire up just one neighborhood. they'd be a tiny ISP.
with common carrier, an upstart could service a unserved area, AND have access to the rest of the customer base. and they'd have to reverse-share (at regulated wholesale prices) with the main incumbent carriers too, for the new areas they served.
but nope! monopolies. as far as the eye can see. because of an activist pro-very-big-business pro-monopoly Supreme Court.
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#1yrago Appeals court rejects judge who wanted $65m for lost pants https://pluralistic.net/2020/06/10/compton-cowboys/#a-bit-pants
#1yrago Time to retheme Splash Mountain https://pluralistic.net/2020/06/10/compton-cowboys/#zipadeedoodah