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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006, 5:00 pm

Monopolies Go Global

Out from afar I continue to observe an American domination that expands through integration, acquisitions, and a worrisome process of ‘innovation’ takeover. Here is an example from yesterday’s technology section.

Yahoo!’s shopping spree is showing no signs of letup. During the past 18 months, the online media and search giant has acquired photo sharing startup Flickr, social bookmarking site Del.icio.us, and Upcoming, a user-generated social events calendar. It has also tried to acquire social networking site Facebook for upwards of $1 billion.

Map of EuropeMicrosoft, Oracle, and Google (among a few others) are no exception. Microsoft in particular has been buying plenty of startups in order to penetrate the Web. Larry Ellison eliminated Open Source threats by buying them off (this includes an attempt to snatch MySQL, having led PeopleSoft to their demise). And while Oracle uses Linux very heavily and has seen a sharp rise in profits, it all makes you wonder where the global industry is headed. Technology is not the only sector affected. Giants such as MacDonald’s or Wal-Mart are there to remind us that they can go global and eliminate mom-and-pop stores in the process. Ultimately we may all find ourselves enslaved to few powerful players whose leaders accumulate billions.

This is made worse when large players liaise in order to squash any emerging threats (disruptive technologies such as Open Source software). Essentially, they promote their own agendas using seemingly-infinite powers and resources. As an example:

Why the world needs openness, not interoperability

This NAC/NAP lovefest would be laughable if it weren’t such a kick-in-the-teeth to the rest of the industry, enterprise IT, and all Internet users. A Cisco/Microsoft oligopoly stalls implementation, stifles innovation, and makes the network less secure. In this way, Cisco and Microsoft are standing in the way of progress.

Unless legistlation changes, only the universe is the limit. Corruption, lobbying, and shilling do not help either.

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