Is Facebook Truly A Monopoly? No More Than Microsoft Was.

Hey there!

Everything old is new again, isn’t it?

Facebook is the new anti-competitive whipping boy. Everyone from Senator Elizabeth Warren to one of the founders of Facebook are calling for the company to be broken up. It’s too big. It’s a monopoly.

Back in 1998, Microsoft was accused of the same thing (and making it hard for third parties to integrate into the IE browser). Just under two years, and many tax dollars later, they were “split into two companies” with no discernible effect.

And my take on this go-round with Facebook is the same as it was back then: no, neither are monopolies.

If you’re going to accuse Facebook and other tech megacompanies of anything nefarious, make sure your accusations are accurate.

Here’s what I mean.

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Raw YouTube Captioning

hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
and today I want to talk to you about
something that is really important to me
it’s near and dear to my heart it has
been for decades and that is what is
essentially a relentless and weird
attack on capitalism let me explain
I am NOT a lawyer but I do know how to
read and I do have the skills of logical
I believe 21 or so years ago Microsoft
May of 1998 Microsoft had charges
brought against them they were accused
of being a monopoly and these charges
were were promulgated by contacts from
Netscape who thought that Internet
Explorer and Windows was making it
impossible for them to compete they were
making it hard for third parties to
integrate into the browser and into the
operating system and at the time I just
shook my head and Wonder and said
Microsoft is a monopoly I have a choice
as to what I’m going to use as a
computer I don’t use a PC I use a
Macintosh I could use a UNIX box if I
wanted to
certainly they owned the vast
preponderance of the market at that time
but to call them a monopoly to me was
just heretic ‘l and i spent a lot of my
time on the radio decrying the tax
dollars that were being spent the people
involved one of them was David Boies who
recently spent a lot of time defending
the people that started theron o–‘s and
especially their founder with some
tactics that if you want to read bad
blood you’ll find to be just crazy
and in the end two years later they were
ordered to split into two different
companies one that did software and one
that did the operating system and then
on appeal most of that just went away
because in those two years the internet
imploded there was the dot-com bust and
you know the realization of what was
really going on with those prices those
stock those you know IPOs and everything
and competition from Macintosh and from
others you know lamp wasn’t really a
thing you know which is which is a an
acronym that stands for Linux Apache my
sequel and PHP it’s a framework that a
lot of servers run on other servers run
on Microsoft’s framework anyway all this
kind of really rankled me because they
were calling Microsoft a a monopoly but
they didn’t have the kind of monopoly
that say caused there to be monopoly
laws created like Standard Oil who if
Microsoft was being like Standard Oil
they would have figured out how to put
Apple out of business
they would have figured out how to you
know delegitimize open-source operating
system software didn’t do any of that
they competed against it and I spent a
lot of time as I said on the radio
talking about this and it feels like
we’re seeing the same movie all over
again with the incredibly lengthy
article in The New York Times by Chris
Hughes who is one of the co developers
of Microsoft he’s termed a co-founder
but he was like in the dorm room when it
was being created who knows how much he
contributed but he certainly got a lot
to say about it now and there are also
anti-competitive organizations that
don’t want anybody to get too big and
some politicians like senator Elizabeth
Warren who you know she’s got some great
positive points to her I love you know
how she does things but I think she’s
woefully misinformed when she wants to
break up big tech they’re calling
manopoly I don’t know the monopoly is
termed as someone who completely owns a
marketplace to the detriment of other
competitors and forces the consumer to
use them I don’t know about you but I
know of at least 20 to 30 social
networks other than Facebook and app
developers and data collectors including
Google and Apple and so on and are we
really forced to use facebook at the
detriment of others I just I just find
this whole conversation one of
frustration on my part but I understand
it if you’re going to blame Facebook for
don’t call the MoMA not Polly because
they’re not they certainly are a leader
in a space that has a lot of big
companies what they are is careless with
our data and our and our ability to
participate in financial transactions
and other crazy awful things but to call
them a monopoly is a real problem it’s a
real problem and the proposed solutions
which is to break them up you know to
break up whatsapp and to break up
Instagram break them off unravel their
purchases of those companies do you
think that’s gonna solve any of the
problems that they’re facing with with
data retention and and the election
stuff and the you know fake news and all
it’s not gonna make one bit of
difference but what it does do is it
gives people who have different agendas
some awesome stuff to talk about
especially if you’re running for
president I mean who wants to disagree
as a as a modern consumer who’s trying
to not be on face but I don’t I don’t
like Facebook I I like it for some
things but I don’t like it for others I
don’t want to build my business on their
platform I’ve talked about this in other
videos and I’m doing something about
that but I’m not leaving Facebook as a
way to communicate with my clients or a
way to find new clients or a way to have
fun looking at people’s pictures
that sort of thing I just I find these
knee-jerk reactions and these headline
statements you have to break up big tech
you know good luck to you on that good
luck to you on being careful what you
wish for because you just might get it
you know there’s a there’s another
movement going on saying break up the
app stores don’t let the app stores wall
off your ability to get cool stuff to
play with it should be open
well those app stores at least the Apple
App Store allows users to have
confidence that the apps aren’t going to
be destroying their devices and usually
safeguarding their data
you know when Apple finds out that an
app is doing something nefarious they
get rid of it that couldn’t happen in an
open marketplace or an unwalled
environment it’s great for developers
because you don’t have to jump through
all the hoops same thing with Facebook
you know Facebook isn’t stopping people
from creating apps and integrating and
not working with others you break them
up by removing whatsapp and Instagram
they’ll just continue to grow on their
own and they’ll have their own set of
problems I just find this whole idea of
break up big tech as an interesting and
provocative statement to make and an
attention grabber and something to
differentiate people one candidate
against another a you know a disgruntled
founder from his former partners people
who insist that capitalism is bad at its
core you know this is dangerous this is
really dangerous to jump to that
conclusion and I just wanted to share my
thoughts with you on it I’d love to know
what you think everybody has an opinion
about this I want to hear yours put it
in the comments below if you’re watching
on video to go go comm what do you think
about Facebook should they be broken up
do you understand what a monopoly
actually is do you understand the
difference between a coercive monopoly
and a non coercive monopoly there’s a
big difference there Microsoft was
termed a non coercive monopoly as
opposed to standard oil or the banking
etc so let me know let me know what your
thoughts are and how hard is it for you
to quit Microsoft how hard is it for you
to not get them off your phone or off
your computer which is actually pretty
easy um but actually just stop using
them for fun and enjoyment and maybe for
your work I mean what’s the draw there
right there is a draw for different
functions I just want to know what you
think and this is one of those videos
that I just had to do because I was in
the car about 15 20 minutes ago
listening to a representative of an
anti-competitive organization who wants
to break up every big business not just
Facebook not just Apple not just Google
but every big business and that to me is
dangerous it’s really dangerous the
economies of scale that we achieve the
the the the things that we have now in
our society both good and bad that
wouldn’t be here but for big tech and
the the ability to create things and to
market things and to have those things
seep into the culture you know yeah are
there bad things absolutely are there
things that I’d like to see changed yes
but the idea of breaking up a company
having the government come in and tell
that company how big they’re allowed to
be that to me is dangerous it’s really
dangerous so I want to know what you
think though please put a comment below
let me know what your thoughts are on
this and if you’re not watching this on
vo to go go comm please go to vo to go
go comm that’s where the conversation is
gonna be kept sane and calm and you know
no trolls no haters if you want to leave
a you know comment on on YouTube go
ahead but we’d love to have you at vo –
go go comm because we’ve got so much
cool stuff to offer you there and if you
want to be notified by YouTube when I
have a new video that comes out you can
join my channel you can subscribe to it
there’s my head there if there’s no head
there look for a subscribe button
somewhere on the page and if you want to
see the latest video I’ve done click on
that frame and YouTube will play it for
you immediately
I’m David H Lawrence the seventeenth
thank you so much for watching and I’ll
talk to you tomorrow.

2 Responses to Is Facebook Truly A Monopoly? No More Than Microsoft Was.

  1. Trevor May 19, 2019 at 3:55 pm #

    Agreed. Important to be vigilant about the power and influence corporations increasingly wield (and how) over culture, but personal (end user) responsibility is a thing, too.

  2. Tobi Czumak May 20, 2019 at 8:52 pm #

    Government needs to stay out of Corporate America. I agree with you 100% — Nobody is breaking my arm to join Facebook and the like — it’s MY CHOICE.

    I’ve been a MAC user since Apple’s beginning in the 70’s — and am reasonably well-informed in Microsoft use as well. These are NOT monopolies. The Elizabeth Warren’s of the world are just looking for a platform to run on and have no idea what they’re spouting off about.

    My use of these apps or computers remains MY CHOICE — not the Governments.

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