Tag Archives: politics

The Inevitable Age of Monopolies?

It appears that the Age of Monopolies is coming, if not already here. What we are witnessing is the greater and greater number of monopolies and near-monopolies is newfound areas of technology. From search engines to mobile devices, it appears that the monopolies are here to stay, and that at best they will become duopolies. In the United States, we can even observe the formation of near-monopolies. Comcast has established itself as a ubiquitous cable TV and ISP. While not a monopoly nation-wide, the poor infrastructure makes it possible to grab a monopoly in individual areas such as small towns and communities.

Why are the monopolies perhaps here to stay? Why is “using advantage in one area to unfairly gain advantage in another” going to stick around, and perhaps become a common and even accepted practice? We can extrapolate that from the observation that historically, the policy of divide et impera is less and less effective, perhaps counter-productive in the long run. What the anti-trust laws are doing is implementing divide et impera against corporations.

When we think of anti-trust laws, among computer professionals it is common to think of Microsoft’s inclusion of Internet Explorer into Windows; for it is the most commonly known court case fighting against “trusts”. Rarely do people consider Oracle doing the same thing, Sun doing the same thing prior to the acquisition, and Apple doing the same thing. However, Oracle has expanded into hardware and servers market, into operating system and programming languages market, and even purchased its competitor MySQL — all through purchasing Sun. All this resulted in European examination of the appropriateness of the acquisition.

Apple has also easily expanded its business into general purpose* mobile devices arena. It could not do so without prior success with its mobile media player, computer, brand and marketing. Could a small company from Croatia today establish itself as a leading provider of modern mobile devices? Certainly not. It does not have the exposure, the mystery nor the success of Apple.

To prevent all this, we have anti-trust and other laws. While the author of these lines does not have any insight into specifics of these laws, their intention is probably clear: prevent establishment of too powerful companies. In Croatian market, a chain of grocery stores has established or purchased many food production companies. Meaning, it can control the prices more effectively than its competitors, as it can blackmail its other suppliers. In fact, this even gives this chain a considerable political power: in case a law is brought that does not benefit it, it can raise prices, claim it’s government’s fault and cause public outrage. Both things have happened: both suppliers and the government has been pressured.

The point is, these laws are ineffective. Could this be a result of their nature as a divide et impera mechanism, or is the reasoning much less metaphysical and in fact a lot simpler — corruption among politicians? Could it be some third reason? It could be anything.

It is just worrying if it is really caused by people’s acquired hatred for divide et impera, and that we are all blind not to see it.

* General purpose mobile devices — Let’s face it: no matter that it’s claimed otherwise, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad are general purpose mobile devices. They are not constrained to just making phone calls, playing music and browsing the web. They could, theoretically, do anything. Hence “there’s an app for that”.

Political presidential campaigns in Croatia

These elections appear to be revolutionary ones, where the candidates and their supporters realized that they could use email to practically spam the voters. Thankfully, the spam is of such low volume that I still somewhat enjoy the spam.

This far, I have received three emails.

  • chain letter against Ivo Josipović, claiming negative connections with ICTY in connection with prosecutions against Croatian generals during Homeland war. No direct sources for claims given, except “Lookup on the Internet, you’ll find it”. This chain letter was sent to me by a completely unknown person, but luckily addresses went to BCC field.
  • direct letter for Miroslav Tuđman. Unsolicited. All destionation addresses went to TO field — enriching me and everyone else for 1037 email addresses. These are just those beginning with “iv”, and most of them on Croatian TLD (.hr). Otherwise informative, linking to several articles and videos. (I mostly appreciate the second one, for I heard there was some insightful things said in that show. Show is from a local TV station.)
  • direct letter for Ivo Josipović. Apparently solicited — I answered some polls on previous parliamentary elections. I was the single destination for this personalized email.

    And this is where this becomes most interesting in technical and marketing sense. When I say personalized, I mean hyper-personalized. I was sent a link to a personalized article and video. Check it out. Technically this campaign appears to be most technically capable.

Previous local elections were, I believe, the first elections where campaigns used Google for advertising purposes. These seem to have taken this a step further.

I want to point out that this post in no way constitutes support for anyone or anyone’s views. I have no personal political preferences for these elections, and least of all want to take part in promoting anyone. So if you’re Croatian and you plan on voting, disregard this post when considering whom to vote for.

Umm … and just to end this post with something not colored politically… errr … some random word … hmmmm … Linux? Yes, that’ll do. Linux!

Političari

Kako “fantastičan” političar: autor više znanstvenih radova, i suradnik časopisa kojem ne zna napisati ime…

Autor sam 5 znanstvenik radova, 2 znanstvena panela, sudjelovao sam na više stručnih internacionalnih skupova kao predavač. Koautor sam knjige „Tajne Jadrana“, koautor dokumentarnog filma „Avion koji je sletio na morsko dno“. Suradnik sam u više renomiranih svjetskih časopisa, posebno izdvajam „National geografic“ .

Nationa Geographic. Dakle veliko G, i umjesto f ide ph.

Ne volim HDZ, ali ovakvu veselu “stručnu sposobnost” nisam očekivao :)