Research Cluster 3

Conceptual: Technological developments have increased to such a degree where the increased demand resulting from these advances is so high that these companies are becoming monopolistic overpowered unions.


This is a societal wide trend; it is not consolidated into any industry in particular.


Premise for argument: Increased technologies create more sought after, more enjoyable experiences for the user. Users pay for the experience, not the content. As technology increases, development of content should be more accessible, but a small group of people are holding onto these advancements as their own, preventing a fair market available.

Horizontal Lense: How these trends are universal across many aspects of society

Proposed Outline of argument with evidence:

I will research the specific technologies and other specific information in my final cluster. This cluster is simply focusing on macro trends across industries.


    1. Case Study 1: The Tech Industry
      1. Online Retailing
        1. Their technology
          1. Rao, Leena. “Amazon Prime Revenue Up Nearly 50% In The Past Year.” Fortune, Fortune, 27 Apr. 2017,
          2. “For $99 annually, Amazon Prime members can stream digital movies, TV shows, podcasts, and Amazon’s original productions in addition to getting free two-day shipping and one-hour delivery on certain orders. Prime is used by the company to encourage loyalty with shoppers who want to access faster shipping on items like toilet paper or coffee or toys.”
          3. Shipping Methods
            1. McFarland, Mac. “Amazon Only Needs a Minute of Human Labor to Ship Your next Package.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 6 Oct. 2016,
              1. “On a typical Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) order, employees will spend about a minute total — taking an item off the shelf, then boxing and shipping it.”
          4. Access to multiple
            1. Cluster 1
            2. Examples: (whole foods acquisition, prime shipping, amazon music, amazon video, etc..) (not everyone is successful however, but in the long run it pays off, all about market ownership, not short term profit)
        2. The Cell Phone Industry
        3. Their technology
          1. hardware/software superiority
            1. Touch Screen, siri, battery life, platform idea of imessage/icloud etc… (modern monopolies)
            2. It is not their superior technology itself, its is their connection  of various softwares, which led to their increased popularity, and eventually ability to purchase superior hardwares.
            3. Apple/ Google
              1. “Modern Monopolies” – Moazed, Alex
                1. “Through iOS, iTunes, and the App Store, it  offers platforms that connect buyers and sellers of every kind of digital good you can imagine.”


  • Constantly reinvest to experiment in new  markets, to increase power.


              1. These markets have high enough barriers where only companies the size of google are able to enter.
                1. “Google is singularly adept at using its core search platform to establish new platforms in other, seemingly unrelated markets… it has already released platforms for wearable devices and health data…. Internet connected thermostat….UBer competitor….”
        1. Superior coverage
      1. How they own the entire market
        1. “Patent as a sword”
          1. Patents
        2. “Some experts worry that Apple’s broad patents may give the company control of technologies that, over the last seven years, have been independently developed at dozens of companies and have become central to many devices.
      2. “Amazon Prime Revenue…. -Rao”
        1. Loyalty programs, offering better deals if customers commit to more. This is a form of creating a market barrier, only these large companies can afford to offer these programs, which pay for themselves in the long run, but temporarily cut the profit per person drastically. Cause smaller competitors to drop out of market
  1. Case Study 2: The Music Industry
    1. Music Label Superior Branding Refer to Cluster 1
      1. Their technology
      2. How they own the entire market
      3. Their consequent power
    2. Music Streaming
      1. Their technology
      2. How they own the entire market
      3. Their consequent power
  2. Case Study 4: The electric company industry
    1. COUNTER EXAMPLE: is this sort of oligopoly/monopoly acceptable in certain aspects?
      1. Tehnology
        1. Many cities/counties have a sole energy provider, which is privately owned. (SDGE)
      2. Uses/ Practility
        1. Easier for such a NEEDED industry to have a single provider without free market varying prices
          1. Booher, Martin, et al. “Practical Law.” Practical Law US (New Platform) Signon, Tomas Reuters, 1 June 2016,
            1. “ Federal regulation is focused on interstate transmission and wholesale power sales. Interstate transmission of electricity is a form of interstate commerce, which provides a constitutional basis for federal regulation. At the state level, state regulators typically focus on the intrastate generation, transmission and sale of electricity, while local regulators focus on issues such as facility siting and zoning.”
      3. Difference is
        1. More of a necessity, highly regulated (not capitalistic)
  3. Case Study 3: The Movie Industry
    1. Movie Production Refer to cluster 1, but expand more specifically, was somewhat vague
      1. Their technology
      2. How they own the entire market
      3. Their consequent power
    2. Movie Showing
      1. Their technology
      2. How they own the entire market
      3. Their consequent power


General Research (Horizontal):

Although the technology itself may vary itself from industry to industry, the methods of how they maintain market control and their corresponding power is generally a horizontal trend(and above is my specific research into the technologies themselves):


    1. Technology
      1. Platform Business Model
        1. The platform models connects consumers in multiple ways and through multiple industries, which leads to their commitment to these companies n an unprecedented level.
        2. Integrating software programs together for a more unified, enjoyable experience for the user.
        3. Not possible before
        4. Causing new technologies to be developed on these platforms (according to modern monopolies). Forcing technologies to be on platforms like etsy, ebay, amazon or facebook allows for these platforms to acquire successful startups, and m (ALSO POWER HERE) “orchestrater of this business activity”
        5. Moazed, Alex, and Nicholas L. Johnson. Modern Monopolies What It Takes to Dominate the 21st-Century Economy. St. Martin’s Press, 2016.
          1. “Platforms allow consumers and producers to connect with each other and exchange goods, services, and information.”
          2. These business are created new markets, that were never before possible, but now are larger than any previous markets.
          3. “The open Internet is a myth. The INternet as we know it today is almost entirely dominated by platforms”
        6.  Manjoo, Farhad. “Can Washington Stop Big Tech Companies? Don’t Bet on It.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 Oct. 2017,
          1. “Amazon manages to keep lowering prices, the antitrust authorities have overlooked other harms caused by Amazon’s growth”
    2. How they own the entire market
      1. Patent protection expanded on apple case study above
        1. “The Patent Used as A Sword” (Lohr)
          1. “the marketplace for new ideas has been corrupted by software patents used as destructive weapons.”
          2. “‘I have patents that can prevent you from practicing in this market,’ Nuance’s chief executive, Paul Ricci, told Mr. Phillips”
          3. “$20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years”
          4. “Some patents are so broad that they allow patent holders to claim sweeping ownership of seemingly unrelated products built by others. Often, companies are sued for violating patents they never knew existed or never dreamed might apply to their creations, at a cost shouldered by consumers in the form of higher prices and fewer choices.”
          5. “United States patent office has increased by more than 50 percent over the last decade”
      2. ‘Platform Style Business Model’


  • Reinvestment of Profit to expand Markets


          1. Refer to Cluster 1 (Case Study on Amazon)
      1. Legal Power
        1. “The Patent Used as a Sword”
          1. Ability to create very loose patents, where they can claim new technologies as their own, and win these suits with large legal teams, sparing no expense.
            1. “When Mr. Phillips refused to sell [his voice recognition company], Mr. Ricci’s company filed the first of six lawsuits…Mr. Phillips won…But it was too late. The suit had cost $3 million dollars, and the financial damage was done. Mr. Phillips agreed to sell his company to Mr. Ricci.”
        2.  “Can Washington Stop Big Tech Companies?”
          1. “European regulators have pursued Google and accused it of abusing its search monopoly, but the Federal Trade Commission closed a 2013 review.”
        3. One/two more sources here
      2. Market barriers (Pure cost of entry)
        1. Amazon’s ability to buy in bulk, lose money on shipping, to temproairly lose money in order to get rid of the competition.
  • Current Power
    • Political Influence
      • Censorship
        •  DiLeo, Dominic, “Social Media Terms and Conditions – e Delicate Balancing Act Between Online Safety and Free Speech Censorship” (2017). Law School Student Scholarship. 929.

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          • Since Facebook has monopolized online communication, they are virtually ruling free speech law, rather than the constitution itself. What they allow is essentially what is legal to say.
            • “These terms and conditions highlight why private companies have the most important duty in shaping free speech doctrine. At the same time, these terms and conditions sometimes have similar functions as the First Amendment itself.”
        •  Dencik, Lina. “Why Facebook Censorship Matters.” Journalism Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University, 17 Nov. 2017,
          • “take down the Facebook page for Anarchist Memes – a page dedicated to anti-capitalist, anti-racist, feminist, and pro-LGBT rights that after five years of operation had acquired 90,000 likes and hundreds of comments everyday”
          • People may say, “why not move these political groups to other platforms? But Facebook is so powerful, if this interaction does not occur on Facebook, it likely will not occur at all.
            • “But as a social media monopoly, and with a user-base of over a billion people, Facebook holds a privileged position as a space of public opinion and what is and is not allowed within that space matters. Facebook has come to occupy an important role not just in our everyday communication, but also in the shaping of broader social and political processes and how we come to understand the world around us.”
          • “The sheer entrenchment of Facebook into our everyday communications as a social media platform and the concerted efforts it has made to become an entry-point to information about our social worlds has provided it with enormous power in, perhaps particularly, the communication among and between individuals as collectives”
      • Censorship, specifically silencing the right
        •  “Can Washington Stop big Tech Companies?”
          • “Mr. Bannon, the Breitbart chairman and former presidential adviser, has repeatedly assailed tech companies for their liberal worldview and what he calls their threats to free speech.”
    • Authoritative Power
      • Ability to resists government authority
        • San Bernardino
          • Schulze, Matthias. “Clipper Meets Apple vs. FBI—A Comparison of the Cryptography Discourses from 1993 and 2016.” Media and Communication, vol. 5, no. 1, 2017, p. 54., doi:10.17645/mac.v5i1.805.
            • Clipper debate: tech industry had less users/ power, they were forced to comply; Apple debate: more power – Obama decides to not prosecute Apple.
            • “During the Clipper discourse in 1993, only 27% of Americans owned a computer and 2% used the Inter- net (World Bank, 2016). The Apple/FBI discourse on the other hand happened at a time when 87% of Ameri- cans used the Internet (World Bank, 2016), 73% had a computer and 68% a smartphone (Anderson, 2015”


  • Next cluster: Historical sense to early 20th century 



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