6 months back, I was watching a documentary “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates” on Netflix where they mentioned that Microsoft, which was co-founded by Bill Gates in 1975, dominated the computer market with approximately 90% of the world’s personal computers used Microsoft’s OS and its popular Office products. In technical language, they call it a one-party market dominance, but clearly, they had a monopoly in the PC market.
Last week, when I was reading an article of a similar genre, I got to know that as per U.S antitrust laws, corporates are not allowed to use the word “monopoly” even when it is quite clear for everyone. And interestingly, there are conspiracy theories that :
To maintain their monopoly, Microsoft intentionally sold the pirated copies of their Office products to create user habits when Apple came to the market in the 1980s.
Was it ethical?
I can’t really comment on that because I can see a hell of a lot of monopolies around me in today's digital world! My point is that this issue has not gone away. Last year, after repeated calls to do so, Mark Zuckerberg decided that he will testify before Congress. It was a hot topic on news channels and social media platforms.
It was 2 AM in India, and I especially woke up in the middle of night and watched it live because I considered him my role model.
I was such a big fan that I watched his biographical drama movie “Social Network” about 50 times. Unfortunately, his answers about data privacy and their involvement in elections worldwide were not that persuasive, which broke my trust. It’s not just about Facebook as you might recognize these kinds of discussions from the recent debates over platforms such as Google and Amazon as well.
All companies currently dominate their individual markets in part because their services are growing organically. The more people on Facebook, the more likely it is that a new user will subscribe to Facebook instead of another service, leading to the monopoly in one way or another.
Yesterday, when I was scrolling LinkedIn, I read similar news about digital payments firm Paytm, who launched a mini-app store to support Indian developers, directly challenging Google’s dominance in the space.
The tech giant removed the Indian payments app from Google’s Play Store on 18 Sept for violating developer guidelines on real-money gaming.
When I dug down deep into the topic, I realized that just because Google owns the gate and the gateway to the digital ecosystem, they should not act arbitrarily and enforce rules and regulations contrary to Indian laws. Google should not exercise its dominant position and should rather allow a fair and equal chance of succeeding for everyone.
Come Hell Or High Water
To rebel against this decision, the Indian company went against the big player and created a competition. I think this theory works in our daily lives as well. I remember this dialogue from a famous Bollywood Hindi movie “Marry Kom,” where she said :
“Don’t scare someone so much that they are not scared anymore”
Google’s compulsory norms have forced more than 300 apps, like Decathlon, Ola, Domino’s Pizza, NoBroker, to join the Paytm app store. In my opinion, it happened for the good because India was in deliberate need of a local app store; else, a 30% tax will eat up most of the businesses in this pandemic. I am happy that the Indian unicorn companies are now trying to rebel against the dominant tech giants and making their voices heard.