Should the Internet be monopolized?

By Dain Maher Posted October 10, 2013

Google and Facebook—both are household names and services that over half the world uses to search and communicate over the internet.

Since Google’s inception in 1998 and Facebook in 2004, social media and search engines have changed the way we live, work, and play.

Seventeen years ago, the internet was a fairly new concept. In 1996, there were only 20 million total users on the World Wide Web. Today, there are over 245 million users who logged on to the internet on a daily basis; that’s 12 times the number of users that there were in 1996.

As many of us have noticed, Google and Apple have begun something akin to a race. It is not an ordinary race where there are multiple contenders and a clear winner. It is a race to see who will control the mobile world through the influence they have over people and their buying preferences. Though many of us may not realize it, this race could set the stage for one company to completely dominate the industry and have only one mobile phone option available.

The same thing happened over 100 years ago with the age of the Robber Barons. Many of these names are very famous such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J.P. Morgan. All these men built businesses bent on controlling every aspect of their respective industries. This is what we call monopolizing the industry.

What about our day? Well, consider these facts.

Since 1996, Google has acquired 129 different services that make up most of the basic structure surrounding Google. Notable acquisitions include Motorola, Android, and YouTube. Google has poised itself to challenge anyone who dares to stand in its path of mobile domination.

Apple, on the other hand, has steadily been acquiring many small businesses to bolster the iPhone and to increase its power over the internet via the iPhone. Since 1988, Apple has acquired 49 different services that make up the basic composition of Apple products. Some notable acquisitions include Orion Networks Systems, NeXT, which is the basis for the Apple OSX, and Finger Works. The company continues to acquire different services to compete with Google—all in an effort to prevent them from completely monopolizing the mobile industry.

Could it be that Larry Paige and the late Steve Jobs are the modern-day “Robber Barons of the mobile world?”