Why Chris Anderson Doesn’t Worry About Monopolies

Question: What’s your view on monopolies?

Chris Anderson: I can answer this two ways: my observations of the world and then I could answer it with a little bit of my own personal philosophy. I’ll try not to let my own personal philosophy enter this at all. It is absolutely true that monopolies can arise in this era. I mean, let’s face it, Google has a monopoly on things like a pay per click search. Monopolies are not illegal. Monopolistic abuse is illegal. What defines monopolistic abuse? When we can’t even define the market today is a question that’s going to be sort of pondered and debated and possibly decided over this administration, all eight years of it and the next, etcetera. How long did it take us to figure out AT&T’s monopoly?

It was maybe a decade. You know, Microsoft. That was, sort of, the new communications structure. Microsoft was the new computing infrastructure. IBM, how long did it take us to do that? That was about a decade as well. Each one of these faced changes: industrial structure, communications, computing, personal computing, the internet, [each] requires an entirely new sense of definition. Definitions of what is a monopoly? What is monopolistic abuse? What is the market? You know, what is the barrier to entry? What are the barriers to exit? What is time? What is lock in? How much concentration is too much? These are all new questions in an Internet space and I can only hope that the regulators move slowly because I don't think the answers are clear and any answer we give today will be wrong tomorrow. I mean, today, isn't it sort of absurd the fuss we made over Microsoft, now, in retrospect? Now Microsoft looks like the underdog right? We were so worried about their monologist abuse of the desktop. I mean, desktop, when was the last time you even saw your desktop?

Recorded on September 30, 2009

Remember when we made a big deal about Microsoft’s monopolistic abuse of the computer desktop? In hindsight, that was silly.

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

After death, you’re aware that you’ve died, say scientists

Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.

Credit: Petr Kratochvil. PublicDomainPictures.net.
Surprising Science

Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?

Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less