B2 High-Intermediate US 2072 Folder Collection
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Monopolies. These are companies which have grown so large that their dominating influence
on the market pushes out competition from smaller rivals. Monopolies can often harm
the prospects for new businesses and force customers to pay higher prices. And that’s
bad for any country.
America, and many other nations, have fair competition laws that ban monopolies. Yet,
as mega corporations seem to get bigger and bigger, you have to wonder, where is the distinction?
Are megacorporations becoming monopolies?
We’re going to explore a few of America’s largest companies. Just to be clear, these
companies are not officially considered monopolies, although they have come under scrutiny by
the government for encroaching on fair market competition.
First let’s talk about Google, a company that made nearly $70 billion dollars last
year. It owns companies like Youtube, Android, and Waze. But it’s had numerous run-ins
with the Federal Trade Commission. Recently, a leaked FTC report from 2013 revealed just
how close the FTC was to bringing charges. Google was accused of illegal practices like
promoting its own affiliate websites in google search results, and restricting advertisers’
abilities to use other search engines. The report said, Google’s conduct resulted in
“real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets.”
However, Google ended up settling with the FTC out of court.
Monsanto is another huge company that’s been accused of monopolistic practices. They
have patents on genetically modified seeds. Farmers are forced to purchase seeds every
year instead of replanting, to avoid patent infringement. Monsanto remains the leading
supplier of GM seeds, along with other agricultural products such as the weed killer RoundUp,
and a number of farming tech firms. According to Food and Water Watch, in America, 80% of
corn and 93% of soybeans are grown from Monsanto GMO seeds..
Then there’s Microsoft, a company that made almost 90 billion dollars last year. They
own brands like Windows, XBox, Hotmail, and Bing. In the ‘90s, the huge corporation
barely escaped being split in two by an antitrust lawsuit brought against them by the government.
The lawsuit alleged that Microsoft promoted their own web browser on the Windows operating
system, and shut out competitors. In 1999, a judge DID find that Microsoft “maintained
its monopoly power by anticompetitive means.” However, this verdict was later overturned.
How do some of these gigantic companies escape antitrust regulation? Well, many of the subsidiary
brands within the parent company occupy separate markets, as delineated by the FTC. For instance,
another corporate giant, Unilever, owns brands in different niche markets, like “ice cream”,
“premium ice cream” and “super premium ice cream”. Also, the mega-corporations
have a huge amount of financial and lobbying power. For example, Google was the fifth largest
political lobbyist in 2013. And Monsanto has spent almost $70 million dollars since 1998
on agricultural lobbying.
Clearly, these giant companies have major influence in their respective markets. And
even if they aren’t technically violating antitrust laws yet, they are right on the
cusp of what is considered a monopoly.
In order to regulate against monopolies, the government has developed what are called anti-trust
laws. To learn how these laws work, check out our video here. For more TestTube every
day of the week, please hit subscribe now. Thanks for staying with us.
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Megacorporation Or Monopoly: What’s The Difference?

2072 Folder Collection
鄭小鬼 published on February 24, 2016    鄭小鬼 translated    Kristi Yang reviewed
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