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Are Amazon, Google, Facebook And Apple Monopolies? In Some Ways, But This Isn't Illegal

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Are Amazon, Google, Facebook And Apple Monopolies? In Some Ways, But This Isn't Illegal

There is no question as to whether companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) are dominant leaders in their respective markets. But are they too dominant to the point where they should be classified as monopolies?

Being a monopoly is not illegal in the United States, despite contrary belief, Bloomberg reported. Being "big" most certainly does not equate with being "bad" unless they abuse their market power to thwart competitors that are offering lower-priced alternatives. In fact, the number of monopoly cases in the U.S. fell from an average of 15.7 a year from 1970 through 1999 to 2.8 a year from 2000 to 2014.

Companies like Facebook or Google would likely argue that they merely offer a superior product versus the competition and their dominance is far from guaranteed over time, Bloomberg suggested. Barriers to entry are after all low for new competitors and there is no shortage of funding capital available to compelling startups.

Nevertheless, here is a look at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google's respective market share in their businesses.

  • Amazon: U.S. e-book sales: 93 percent.
  • Amazon: U.S. e-commerce sales: 30 percent.
  • Apple: high-end smartphone sales: 63 percent.
  • Facebook: U.S. display-ad market: 39 percent.
  • Google: U.S. internet-search ad spending: 78 percent.
  • Google: European internet-search ad spending: 92 percent.

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Image Credit: By Fluffybuns - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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