Large market shares, but…


Imagine a not-too-distant future in which trustbusters force Facebook FB 1.15% to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp. Imagine a time when Amazon’s cloud and delivery services are so dominant the company is broken up like AT&T . Imagine Google’s search or YouTube becoming regulated monopolies, like electricity and water.

Google and Facebook take in 73% of U.S. digital advertising. It may not be something you think about often, but that success rests largely on the fact that both have spent so much money building data centers and filling them with hardware and software designed by an elite, in-demand set of engineers. In this way they resemble the telegraph giants, with investments in physical infrastructure so large no upstart could match them.

Amazon already accounts for 44% of U.S. e-commerce sales, and is showing rapid growth in categories where it previously foundered, like luxury goods and food. It’s convinced former competitors to get on board as partners, is vertically integrating everything from ordering to delivery

No doubt the companies would like to be monopolies if they could, indeed, in many ways leftist monopolies. Imagine that! The good news is that 25 years ago, none of these companies existed, and 25 years from now, who knows what will be considered as the new Standard Oil or AT&T of that time?

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