Report: Virtual Cartels

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  Virtual cartels, oligopolistic structures

Global networks require global technical standards ensuring the compatibility of systems. Being able to define such standards makes a corporation extremely powerful. And it requires the suspension of competitive practices. Competition is relegated to the symbolic realm. Diversity and pluralism become the victims of the globalisation of baroque sameness.

The ICT market is dominated by incomplete competition aimed at short-term market domination. In a very short time, new ideas can turn into best-selling technologies. Innovation cycles are extremely short. But today's state-of-the-art products are embryonic trash.

    According to the Computer and Communications Industry Association, Microsoft is trying to aggressively take over the network market. This would mean that AT&T would control 70 % of all long distance phone calls and 60 % of cable connections.

    AOL and Yahoo are lone leaders in the provider market. AOL has 21 million subscribers in 100 countries. In a single month, AOL registers 94 million visits. Two thirds of all US internet users visited Yahoo in December 1999.

    The world's 13 biggest internet providers are all American.

    AOL and Microsoft have concluded a strategic cross-promotion deal. In the US, the AOL icon is installed on every Windows desktop. AOL has also concluded a strategic alliance with Coca Cola.

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Virtual Cartels
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Microsoft Corporation
Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen and headquartered in Redmond, USA, Microsoft Corporation is today's world-leading developer of personal-computer software systems and applications. As MS-DOS, the first operating system released by Microsoft, before, Windows, its successor, has become the de-facto standard operating system for personal computer. According to critics and following a recent court ruling this is due to unfair competition.

For more detailed information see the Encyclopaedia Britannica:,5716,1524+1+1522,00.html