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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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How long will innovation continue in internet software?

Monopolies and the internet are the subject of articles by kdawson at Slashdot link here and Tim Wu at the Wall Street Journal link here. They note that the monopolies are innovative, but that they will not always remain so.

Actually, they are not real monopolies, but rather collectively they make up an oligopoly where the companies compete at the margins, mainly in the form of product differentiation, They are successful as long as they innovate. Why would they not continue to do so? On first thought, because they run out of innovations. But is that likely?

I don't think so. The problem here is that further innovation gets blocked by patents and copyrights so that big companies like Apple and Microsoft use their intellectual property to ward off new competitors by building an IP fence. There is competition now and it will continue so long as the industry can continue to innovate. When innovation stops, the oligopolists will be in full control and the need to do something about the industry's IP will become pressing.

Politically, it seems hard to do anything about this IP so long as innovation continues and the industry can argue it is constantly in flux. So far, the big players have been right.


Comments

Hardware isnt free either: link here

The author makes an interesting point: How far will Rembrandt's legal action go? A victory by the patent aggregator could force Seagate and Western Digital to pony up licensing fees and perhaps encourage the development of more affordable and reliable SSDs?

Its a fortunate coincidence that we have an new and better alternative to old hard drives, but what if we didnt?


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