Will technology giants conspire to control consumers’ choices unless checked by regulation? Recent history, observes Adam Thierer, shows that free markets are the digital consumer’s best friend:
Isn’t it funny how all the recent hand-wringing about the supposed dominance of today’s big four fails to mention Microsoft, Intel, AltaVista, AOL, Yahoo!, BlackBerry, or the old telcos? It would have been impossible to pen anything about technology “dominance” in past years and not mention those companies. Today, they rarely get a mention, except perhaps to highlight their rapid fall from the upper echelons of Tech Titan-dom.
This week’s big news was Google’s bid for Motorola, which positions the search giant better for battle in the smartphone and tablet wars with Apple. Think about it: A company that didn’t even exist 15 years ago and got started in a garage is now making telecom giants sweat. Meanwhile, Facebook, a company started in a college dorm, made News Corporation’s $580 million bet on MySpace turn out to be a mega-turkey. Meanwhile, Apple had what former CEO John Sculley called a “near-death experience“ just 15 years ago only to experience a Lazarus-like rebirth and revolutionize the computing, online music, and mobile device sectors. Finally, Amazon.com, along with Apple, has upended media distribution methods and forced mass media giants to rethink how content is priced, bringing prices down in the process.
This is capitalism at its finest, not the catastrophe the tech pessimists preach about. …
[W]e shouldn’t buy into pessimistic-minded tales of techno-apocalypse or the suggestion that digital markets need to be preemptively reshaped through incessant regulatory interventions. [Of “Tech Titans” and Schumpeter’s Vision, by Adam Thierer, Forbes.]