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Monopoly (not the game)

 
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I sometimes feel whats wrong with it...
I am not a supporter of M$ or any such player in any field nor do I go with market arrogance.

Just that, if a market player is good enough, then so be it.
It should spur competitiveness right...?
 
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it's not simply a question of having the best product, but how you use your market position.

for example, say company A writes the most popular operating system in the world for desktop computers. say over 90% of all machines sold use that OS.

now, a new type of software comes out - a way to type a message and have it instantly be transmitted to another computer, so a live converstation can take place. this new software is made popular by company B, and it runs on Company A's OS.

Well, company A decides they want to get involed in this message-sent-instantly software business, so they write their own. they bundle it with their own OS, so it gets delivered free to everybody who buys their OS. But Company B wants THEIR message-sent-instantly software to be pre-installed on brand new computers. They have to PAY company A to get their software bundled in, because company A controls the desktop.

and THAT is the kind of practices that are not allowed.
 
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In a area A there is only one ISP and in a area B there are multiple ISP's. In area B you pay less because of competition. Consumer are always happy in area B than A. I hate this monopoly.
 
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Sherman, set the way back machine for 1994 ...

Windows 3.1 was getting tired. OS/2 Warp rocked in so many ways. IBM fumbled the year that "the next windows" slipped in development and failed to win the market. But during that year, MS told OEMs like Dell and Gateway if they shipped ONE machine with OS/2 pre-installed, they would lose their discount on Windows. That was worth many millions and any one brand's entire price edge over another. This should be under "anti-competitive" abuse of monopoly in the dictionary. Bill Gates was on 60 minutes or one of those shows and said "We just put our product on the shelf. People buy it or they don't." He smirked when he lied.

Other abuses of monopoly that were legal but not in consumers best interest were the first releases of Access and Excel. Both were far weaker than the competition but won shelf space and customers just on the MS name. Given time they got better but those first rushed releases hurt buyers. Again, the other market players stumbled badly. There were no good Windows competitors for way too long. Borland almost made it with Quattro but blew it big with dBase. Today's MS products probably deserve their place in the market.

[ August 03, 2006: Message edited by: Stan James ]

[policital dig removed by: fred rosenberger]
[ August 03, 2006: Message edited by: fred rosenberger ]
 
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Originally posted by Raghav Sam:
...if a market player is good enough, then so be it. It should spur competitiveness right...?


In an ideal world where people play nicely with each other, yes. But in a world where profits tend to corrupt any sense of morality and fair play, monopolies (whether absolute or virtual) are a dangerous thing. Healthy competition is stifled, and consumers lose.
 
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Originally posted by marc weber:

In an ideal world where people play nicely with each other, yes. But in a world where profits tend to corrupt any sense of morality and fair play, monopolies (whether absolute or virtual) are a dangerous thing. Healthy competition is stifled, and consumers lose.



Accepted. May be I should have said - the awesomeness of something so good should inspire more and better players in the sense of emulating the original. Because we cant deny that monopoly is indeed been the driving force for new creations, a new technology, a new world.
 
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Because we cant deny that monopoly is indeed been the driving force for new creations, a new technology, a new world.



And what great new inventions have monopolies given us lately? I'd say just the opposite ... hungry, clever individuals who really need something drive new creations.
 
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Originally posted by Raghav Sam:
Because we cant deny that monopoly is indeed been the driving force for new creations, a new technology, a new world.

Most likely the opposite happens. If a monopoly has a strong grip on a particular market, it is difficult for new companies to enter into that market. This acts as a massive disincentive for people to try and come up with new ideas for that marketplace.

The company with the monopoly also has little incentive to innovate. Why should they when they already have a captive market? Every so often they may make a small improvement if they think someone is about to enter into the market, but the overall level of innovation will most likely be much less then in a free market.
[ August 07, 2006: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
 
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Awe, you guys are looking at it all wrong. The incentive the spurs people to create new things, new inventions, new ideas, is in the hopes that a monopoly feels threatened enough to buy you out. Then you move on to your next bright idea, and hope the same thing happens.
 
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Originally posted by Raghav Sam:


Accepted. May be I should have said - the awesomeness of something so good should inspire more and better players in the sense of emulating the original. Because we cant deny that monopoly is indeed been the driving force for new creations, a new technology, a new world.



no, monopolies aren't that.
NEAR monopolies are though, they spur competitors to try to come up with ideas to break into a tough market, and the largest player to innovate to stay ahead of the game.

That's what happens in the computer industry, where Microsoft doesn't (despite politically and religiously charged claims to toe opposite) have a monopoly.

A monopoly means there is no competition after all, and Microsoft faces stiff competition in many of the markets they operate in and at least some competition in all markets.

The only effective monopolies of the last century or so have been government granted ones, where corporations were given exclusive rights to deliver specific services or products within a country and all competitors were legally banned.
In all instances that led to higher prices, lower quality, and technological stagnation.
 
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Originally posted by Jeroen T Wenting:
The only effective monopolies of the last century or so have been government granted ones, where corporations were given exclusive rights to deliver specific services or products within a country and all competitors were legally banned.
In all instances that led to higher prices, lower quality, and technological stagnation.

In the case of the UK railway network, the break up of the government monopoly into several private companies causes higher prices, lower quality and while not quite a technological stagnation, certainly a very slow level of technological improvement (way below the level of technological advance in our neighbouring countries). We'd been promised that ending the monopoly would bring great improvements, but in the end it just made things worse. There are also concerns that ending the Post Office's monopoly over delivering letters could lead to the closure of many Post Offices in small villages, removing a vital service in those communities.

In the majority of situations it is different though, and monopolies tend to be detrimental to the economy except for in a few special cases. Those special cases do exist though, so its hard to make a blanket statement saying "monopolies are bad". Instead I'd say monopolies are a bit like sewers - generally not desirable, but useful in some areas
[ August 08, 2006: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
 
Raghav Sam
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Okay, I should have said, "In an indealised world..."
Alas, we live in such a narrow world.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Raghav Sam:
Okay, I should have said, "In an indealised world..."

But then just about anything would be good in an ideal world
 
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
In the case of the UK railway network, the break up of the government monopoly into several private companies causes higher prices, lower quality and while not quite a technological stagnation, certainly a very slow level of technological improvement (way below the level of technological advance in our neighbouring countries). We'd been promised that ending the monopoly would bring great improvements, but in the end it just made things worse.

Did the government really break up the monopoly, or did it simply replace one large government monopoly with several private local monopolies?

In a sense, the rail system is still a monopoly because London heavily taxes rail's competition (i.e., alternate forms of transportation).
 
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
Did the government really break up the monopoly, or did it simply replace one large government monopoly with several private local monopolies?

The previous government monopoly (British Rail) was split into several regional service providers. Each one of those had the responsibility to run the stations and rail services within a particular geographical area. For much of the country, a map of these companies would look a bit like a pie chart centred on London, with many different companies running lines into London (most lines terminate there, rather then passing through).

The problem with this was that in most cases a commuter doesn't have a choice about what company they use (unless they live near the border of two companies and can easily travel to a choice of stations), so the rail companies don't really compete with each other. This removed one of the largest advantages of privatisations. Effectively a large monopoly had be turned into smaller regional monopolies, with none of the advantages of a free market but with a reduction in efficiency due to a loss of economies of scale.

An additional company was created to maintain the railway infrastructure itself - the lines, points, power cables and so on. This was probably an even bigger problem as a lack of communication and cooperation between the rail companies and the company running the rails themselves often caused delays and timetable inefficiencies.

In a sense, the rail system is still a monopoly because London heavily taxes rail's competition (i.e., alternate forms of transportation).

In many parts of the country there isn't much choice - its either car or train. In London there is much more choice. The rail companies do receive a boost because of the Congestion Charge (which charges cars for entering central London), but then in London there is also the choice of using the Tube or bus services. This choice means that in many parts of London there is competition between the different forms of transport (its a bit different in South East London because the ground is chalky so the Tube tunnels can't run there, but there is still a choice between trains and buses).

If anything, many of the alternatives to train transport are subsidised rather then taxed. Although car travel is more expensive because of the Congestion Charge (which only really applies in a small, albeit important, proportion of London), the Tube and buses are cheap. Granted they have recently gone up in price, but they are still very cheap in comparison with the rest of the country.
 
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