The New Generation Of American Monopolies

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Google
>Product: Search Engine
>Market Share: 90.1%
>Competition: Yahoo!, Bing

In mid 1990’s, there was relative parity in the search engine market. Companies such as Excite, Lycos, and Altavista and Ask Jeeves each had its own piece of the market. This all changed when Yahoo, MSN and Google came on the scene in the late 1990’s. The former search leaders were bought out or went bankrupt one after another. By 2006, the the search engine market was split among the three companies. Six years ago, Google’s market share was 36.4%, compared to Yahoo!’s 30.6% and MSN’s 16.5%. It was Google’s search results, perceived by many to be superior, and its powerful branding which helped the company take control of the search engine business. As of this month, Google’s share has risen to 90.1%. Its closest competitors, Yahoo! and Bing, each have roughly a 4.2% share, according to Statcounter.com.

Microsoft
>Product: Windows Operating System
>Market Share: 89.7%
>Competition: Mac OS X, Linux

Microsoft is no stranger accusations of market domination.  In 2000, the company’s massive market share, due the ubiquity of its operating system, led the US Department of Justice to accuse it of abusing its monopoly power.  Today, Microsoft’s Windows operating systems still controls the majority of the market.  According to analytics firm Net Applications, Microsoft had just under 90% market share as of February 2011.  As recently as February 2008, the company controlled more than 95% of the market. Still, it is difficult to argue that Microsoft’s power is experiencing a significant decline when the second most popular operating system, Mac OS X, represents just over 5% of the market.

Facebook
>Product: Social Media Site
>Market Share: 63.8%
>Competition: MySpace, Linked In, Twitter

It is hard to believe that MySpace once controlled social media. In July 2006, according to Nielsen,  Facebook had approximately 8 million active users, while MySpace had 100 million and was growing. This all changed as Facebook opened first to high school students, and finally to all Internet users. Now, according to Experian, MySpace is not even the No. 2 site among social networks, with only 1.6% of social media visits per week, compared to YouTube’s 19.8% and Facebook’s 63.8%. In 2009, according to the Financial Times, the social media giant was sued by a startup competitor, Power.com, for “restricting users” and “stifling competition.” Facebook won the suit.

Netflix
>Product: Digital Video Streaming
>Market Share: 61%
>Competition: Blockbuster, Hulu, Vudu

Netflix’s style of DVD rental-by-mail revolutionized the video rental business and is largely responsible for competitor Blockbuster’s bankruptcy. The company continues to lead the rental market, holding much greater market share than competitors Redbox and Blockbuster.  Today, Netflix is again changing the video industry through online streaming.  According to research company NPD Group, Netflix has 61% of the digital video market.  The next greatest market share belongs to Comcast Corp, with only 8%. Since last November, when Netflix introduced its streaming-only plan, more than 2.5 million people, over one third of Netflix subscribers, have signed up.  Netflix has announced plans to further the reach of its streaming service through partnerships with companies such as Facebook, adding to the likelihood that its market share will expand even further.

Intel
>Product: Microchips
>Market Share: 80.3%
>Competition: AMD

Intel is by far the world’s biggest chip manufacturer. Lately, the company has been accused of being an illegal monopoly. In the past two years, Intel has settled lawsuits brought by rival chip maker AMD and the Federal Trade Commission for several billion dollars. These suits, however, haven’t had an impact on the company’s dominance of the microchip industry. As of the fourth quarter of 2010, AMD’s share of the chip manufacturing market was 12.1%, compared to Intel’s 80.3%.