From fad to monopoly

The telephone, mainframe computers, microprocessor chips, and PC software industries have all spawned companies displaying enough monopolistic behavior to warrant penalties from the trust busters.

In England, the competition regulator used to be called the Monopolies Commission and one of my favorite comedic lines (attributed here to Nigel Rees) is "why is there only one Monopolies Commission?" Now we see the US and EU anti-trust authorities fighting over these issues, we wonder why there isn't just one!

For reasons about to become clear let me share this chart from a March '09 Fortune Magazine article which shows the adoption rate of new technology. (As Raif Barbaros pointed out, the Facebook comparison itself is misleading: Facebook is free, you have to pay for the others.)

Resolving the chain of reasoning connecting these two topics... I would love to see a chart showing the number of years from the introduction of a technology to the first investigation by competition regulators. I leave that as an exercise for the reader!

And, what, you might be asking, is the proximate cause for juxtaposing these thoughts? Just a few months after I noted cloud computing (Feb '09) as a new trend in our industry, the Economist newspaper has an editorial and feature article on the competition authorities starting to poke around the clouds. I bet this is a record!

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