Although monopolies are illegal under U.S. law, there are some companies that still have virtual monopolies in their industries. These companies dominate their respective markets and have no significant competitor. Their revenues in their markets dwarf those of the closest competitors.
ESPN is the network for all things sports. The company has had challenges from CNN/SI and Fox Sports over the years but easily rebuffed their efforts. ESPN is a monopoly in the sports industry. It is the only 24 hour network devoted to all things sports. The network broadcasts in over 200 countries and is continually expanding. ESPN is so big that the company can buy whatever broadcast rights that it wants. Whatever ESPN wants, ESPN gets. ESPN wanted Monday Night Football and got it. ESPN wanted Sunday Night baseball and got it. ESPN owns the rights to Friday Night NBA Basketball. ESPN controls more than 70% of all college bowl games.
2. Google (GOOG)
If you are searching for something on the Internet, then chances are you googled it. Google has over 65% of the search market. Its closest competitors own just 17% of the market. If you combined Microsoft and Yahoo, they would still control just 34% of the search market. Google’s global market share is often overlooked. According to Fortune magazine, Google owns over 90% of the market in non-mobile search worldwide. Yahoo and Bing combined barely make up over 1%. Google also has a lock on the growing smartphone market. The company owns nearly 96% of the mobile search market. Google doesn’t dominate the search market, the company owns it.
3. Monsanto (MON)
You may have never heard of Monsanto but it doesn’t mean that you have never tried its products. Monsanto has a monopoly in soybean and corn traits. The company controls a remarkable 98 percent of the U.S. soybean market. Monsanto also owns 79 percent of the corn market and 60 percent of the corn and soy germplasm in the United States.
Do you know of any other companies that have a virtual monoploy in their marketplace?