Ah, Monopoly

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Posted under: Digital Natives From the Blog 6th of September, 2014

Ah, Monopoly. A childhood introduction to the world of business, forcing you to make deals with other players if you’d ever want to expand your housing empire. I fondly recall a game where I managed to snag a property of every colour, invariably forcing the friends playing with me to pander to my wishes like jesters at court. Hopefully I would be a merciful Lord, and reassign my properties to allow them to purchase their own houses. If I was truly aiming to win the game, I could have ruthlessly denied them, and quickly bankrupted them. The realisation of the power I held, in this tiny mimicry of the real world, was heady to say the least. Good times.

Monopolies today are just as concerning to those of us outside of them, and I’d specifically mention Google and Apple as examples.

Apple and Google

Google’s reputation is incredibly positive. A household name from their browser alone, they have a bunch of applications to add to their repertoire – gmail, maps, translate, docs, etc. In the USA, Google is acclaimed for their Google Fiber project, enabling customers the option to have internet running at 1 GB/s upload and download speed – something we can only dream of in far-away Aussie land.

Regardless of their apparent competencies at running these applications and creating and completing new projects, the monopolies they have created in various IT divisions is frightening. Even if you discount the fact that they now also own YouTube and twitch.tv, Google has the potential to disrupt services we have come to trust and rely on.

Apple is a similar story, though obviously focused more heavily in computing and mobile software. I would hesitate to call them a customer-oriented company, as the minor upgrades to their products each year don’t always seem to warrant the $500 price tag increase. Nevertheless, a glance around your train carriage shows you the popularity of the iPhone, and how this device seems to have been integrated into daily life. With a flick of a maliciously intended switch, Apple could neutralise worldwide communication.

That’s not to say these monopolies are necessarily negative, either.

Google thus far has proven to be a benevolent god, picking and choosing projects at will and improving them beyond what other companies have been willing or able to do.

Apple, while a bit more money-hungry, has also created an almost world-standard communication device, allowing the easier finding and distribution of information.

So they have the potential to destroy a half of the IT world.

I, for one, welcome the ruling of our resourceful overlords.

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