The combination of incumbent control of unique data, the willingness of the behemoths to run at a loss in multiple related sectors in order to reinforce power in their core profit-making “castles,” and their increasing willingness to buy out any potential rival long before they become a viable competitor have all contributed to the broad decline in competitiveness and entrepreneurship in high-tech markets.
The competition in phones and tablets is increasingly the exception and related to the fact that most of the companies competing in that sector don’t see it as a primary profit-center; in those core profit centers, companies increasingly seek and use the power of big data to gain as exclusive dominance as possible. Where that dominance does not come organically, companies can just acquire any startup likely to infringe on that market power. For example, Facebook extended its social media presence first by its billion-dollar purchase of photosharing company Instagram and, more recently, its $19 billion takeover of WhatsApp, one of the largest global texting platforms, essentially eliminating any significant rival in the various iterations of global social networking.[i]