3 Companies That Have Virtual Monopolies In The United States

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?


  1. avatar Invest It Wisely says:

    Here’s my take:

    1) ESPN: I don’t know enough about this so I won’t comment.
    2) Google: Not really a virtual monopoly. I would say they got to where they are for kicking ass, and because everyone else sucks. However, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc… are still doing just fine, and they recently semi-pulled out of the Chinese market.
    3) Monsanto. Government enforcement and protection of laws and illegitimate patents that screw over small farmers. Nothing more needs to be said here. 🙁

  2. avatar Invest It Wisely says:

    P.S. I love the pictures. 🙂

    I’ve played that version of Monopoly, but it really isn’t as good as the one using cash!

  3. I can think of a couple more that are pure monopolies. Here’s some hints:
    Largest payer of lobbyist in US. More than tobacco, doctors or AARP
    Each makes over $1 billion net profit per year, closer to $ 2+ billion
    Treat their customers like dirt
    You and I all pay for this.

    It is the major US railroads like BNSF and Union Pacific. Interesting how they avoid anti-trust, Sherman Act. This one is supported by our politicians. They continue to fly under the radar. Most people have no idea, except Warren Buffet.

  4. ESPN: good for them, they earned it.

    GOOGLE: good for them, they earned it.

    MONSANTO: Did they earn it? Are they an upstanding company? Should they be allowed the monopoly? Is there graft, corruption, government payoffs for their success? Do some reading and you be the judge.

  5. I heard somewhere that Heinz has virtually no competition and they basically own most of the ketchup market. Mmmm…ketchup.

  6. Hello, Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco! All 3 dominate their markets and have cash and no debt OR real competition! Also, Oracle and big MO (and their spin-off PM)…

  7. Greyhound Bus, Microsoft.

    I find it interesting that Mark would callout Google which has 60% of the search market and yet leave out Microsoft that has 90% of the operating system market. Google has not attempted to encroach on the operating system market, yet Microsoft has encroached into the search market with Bing and attempted to buy out Yahoo.

    Why leave out Microsoft?

  8. Amtrak for passenger train travel. Sure, there are local trains but they won’t take you across the country.

    • Amtrak is one that I never thought of. Good call!

    • Amtrak isn’t a monopoly, it is a branch of the federal government. And passenger rail isn’t profitable which is why we no longer have private passenger trains. Passenger rail only works with government subsidies because nobody would pay the full price of the tickets otherwise.

  9. What’s even worse than monopolies are government sanctioned monopolies. Think about these industries that have anti-trust exclusions.

    RIAA – Music Industry
    AHIP – Health Insurance Companies
    MLB – Major League Baseball

    Are we getting fair pricing from them?

    I believe we should immediately cancel all exemptions from antitrust statutes.

  10. Universal Sports is the sports channel I watch for running and biking and triatholons.

  11. Whats up ! Love your blog thanks for sharing it with me. Support local business.


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