Over and over again, I hear the same argument. Someone (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, whoever) created a thing, and they are now and forever in charge of that thing, and can do whatever they want, and if people don't like it, tough.

This argument is a fair place to start and holds water to a point. If you make a sandwich in the comfort of your own home, you can put whatever you want on it. If you make a sandwich for your kid, your kid can't insist that it have jell-o on it instead of sprouts and cream cheese. (Although if you put dirt on it, social services may want to have a word.)

However, if you have somehow transformed into the civilized world's maker, keeper and provider of sandwiches, it is ridiculous to apply the same logic as if you're just making an afternoon snack for yourself. If applications run on your sandwich that, if they went down, would seriously impact society, we have graduated from the point where it's just your concern (and beyond this metaphor).

iOS and Android is a duopoly. It's not because it's technically impossible to create an alternate platform - although it is very difficult. It's because of the powerful network effects holding back any contender. At that point, your platform controls eating and breathing; the air, the soil and the water; livelihood, where the savings are deposited, how they are used. At that point, everything else is a joke. At that point, you made yourself the world's platform.

I am not one to say that the government, the military or the angry concerned mob of civilians should wrest control of these creations from the private companies, and that this will solve everything. But I am one to say that you keep acting in the same self-interested, self-serving, self-aggrandizing way as you did when you were one of ten hopeful entrants in a crowded market at your own peril.

Monopolies eventually fall. If you're unlucky, they pull all the oxygen from the room first, smothering all counter-agents, setting us back years. Making us forget what it was like before everyone took as given the compromises we were forced to make; the selfish, enshrined as security, as utility, leaving a shriveled, ashen field.

Monopolies are endothermic and parasitic, claiming for itself the value of their surroundings, under the guise of its own importance, propped up and fueled by those who wish for eternal youth, ultimate power and endless resources. But wishing so does not change how thermodynamics work, how ecosystems work. If not dethroned, all power, all value, all energy flows to the monopoly, which assumes it, which forgets everything else, the spectre of endless growth the everpresent hum of the universe. And when it's all there...

The story only ends in one place - without a monopoly. Having fallen, first gradually, then suddenly.

I am not worried about monopolies lasting forever. I am worried about what they will consume before they are toppled. And I am worried about the power of grown adults who still insist on jell-o sandwiches.

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