Would-be monopolists have a new tool to claim control over the unsuspecting masses: sloth.
In the offline world, big vendors must go to extensive ends to ring-fence consumers into concentrating their spend with those vendors. Think vertical integration, price fixing and other monopolistic means. But in a heavily digitised world, Apple, Google, Amazon, and others are creating de facto completely legal monopolies by making it brain-dead easy to use their products.
Is this a problem?
Google, for one, says "no". The company's plausible defense against claims that it unfairly monopolises search comes down to one sentence: consumers are always "one click away" from using a different search engine. As Wharton professor Eric Clemons argues, however, this argument isn't as airtight as Google would have us think, because Google does all sorts of things through partnerships and other means to undermine the substance of truly being "one click away" from an alternative. Read more...