Unregulated monopolies

From Computer Science Wiki
Web Science[1]

An unregulated monopoly has control over something and can do just about whatever it likes. [2]

For a true monopoly to be in effect, each of the following characteristics would typically be evident[3]:

  • A sole provider of a viable product or service.
  • A lack of any close substitutes for consumers to choose from.
  • High barriers to dissuade the entry of any potential competitors.

There are a number of factors that may contribute to the creation of unregulated monopolies on the web.

One factor is the network effect, which refers to the idea that the value of a product or service increases as more people use it. The network effect can create barriers to entry for new competitors, as it becomes more difficult for them to compete with established platforms that have a large user base.

Another factor is the economies of scale, which refers to the cost advantages that companies can achieve through large-scale production. On the web, companies that are able to achieve a large user base or a dominant market share may be able to leverage their scale to drive down costs and increase profits, making it difficult for smaller competitors to compete.

A third factor is the use of proprietary technologies or standards, which can create barriers to entry for new competitors. For example, a company that controls a proprietary technology or standard may be able to use that control to exclude competitors or to charge high fees for access to the technology or standard.

In summary, the web may be creating unregulated monopolies due to the network effect, economies of scale, and the use of proprietary technologies or standards, which can create barriers to entry for new competitors and lead to a concentration of market power.

In my opinion, there is valid question if google, amazon, microsoft, apple, and facebook meet the technical definition of a "monopoly". I'm not sure they do.  The IB says, in the teachers guide "The web is creating new multinational online oligarchies.".  I'm unsure about this. However, we should be aware there is potential for abuse, especially if the only place you go for news or information is google. 


These standards are used from the IB Computer Science Subject Guide[4]

  • Explain why the web may be creating unregulated monopolies.


  1. http://www.flaticon.com/
  2. https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-a-regulated-monopoly-and-an-unregulated-monopoly
  3. http://www.investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/economics/monopoly-943
  4. IB Diploma Programme Computer science guide (first examinations 2014). Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom: International Baccalaureate Organization. January 2012.