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Microsoft and Apple are large corporations and have control of most of the OS market....

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kisstopher603 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted August 9, 2013 at 8:55 PM via web

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Microsoft and Apple are large corporations and have control of most of the OS market.  Although there have been some inovative changes to both of their proprietary operating systems does their size and market dominance prevent more innovation?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 9, 2013 at 9:05 PM (Answer #1)

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In theory, the dominance of these companies’ operating systems (particularly that of Microsoft) ought to lessen the amount of innovation.  In practice, we cannot know if it does.

In theory, the fact that Microsoft has over 90% of the market share for operating systems on PCs and laptops should reduce its incentive to innovate.  The same would not be true of Apple.  Apple does not dominate and therefore must try to innovate in order to gain more market share.  When a firm controls a market in the way that Microsoft does, there is much less urgency to innovate.  It is unlikely that serious rivals can emerge because Microsoft is so firmly embedded.  It would, for example, be hard to convince companies to change all their computers over to some other operating system.  Thus, Microsoft’s dominance should reduce the level of innovation.

However, we cannot know if it truly does this.  The reason is that we cannot know how much innovation would have occurred if Microsoft did not dominate.  We can speculate that there would have been more, but there is absolutely no way to prove that for sure.

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