Tech Monopolies: How Massive Corporations Dominate New Markets

Fiona Kleeman, Staff Writer

In the board game Monopoly, players compete in a cutthroat competition to acquire property and put competition out of business. While the game is intended to be light-hearted fun, it bears disturbing parallels to the real world.With a simple roll of the dice, megacorporations like Facebook and Microsoft have linked together to form monopolies that give them control over vast swaths of the gameboard. 

One of the most prominent digital monopolies is Apple’s App Store. If users want their apps to be downloaded on iPhones, they have to download them from the App Store. This siphons off some of the app designer’s profit. Apple’s profit margin differs greatly between apps – Tinder pays a 30% fee, while Uber skips fees altogether.

Facebook’s spider web stretches to all corners of the social media world: the company owns entities from Facebook to Instagram and WhatsApp to Oculus VR. Their influence makes it difficult to populate a new social media platform without competing with a megacorporation. Their swath of influence means that seemingly minor problems such as server outages destroy major lines of communication.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, thirty dollars today is worth about the same amount as one dollar in 1900 – a result of inflation. Inflation is when items’ prices grow over time due to economic stimulus. One of the reasons it can occur is a rise in cost of production. This process can be exacerbated when one company controls the majority of a market, preventing others from producing the same product for less.

In spite of their shortcomings, large tech companies provide jobs for thousands of people. The bigger the company, the more employees needed for production. However, these benefits do not justify the extreme control exerted by these companies over the market, especially when many employees are underpaid and poorly treated. Amazon, for example, is notorious for making employees work long hours with heavily restricted breaks, according to Forbes. 

With a future of tech-driven life and big companies only getting bigger, small businesses may never catch up. It seems the future is up to us. There are not many ways to prevent these trends from getting out of hand, but there are small solutions like protesting and shopping small. Shopping with small businesses not only redirects business away from large corporations, but it draws benefits toward local communities. 

As massive corporations continue to advance, inflation will continue to rise and monopoly holders will just keep getting richer. But there is a course of action to fight this trend. If the people take it into their own hands to support local businesses, stop patronizing the major corporations, and protest against market domination, small businesses still have a chance at winning the game.