When Nathan Myhrvold wrote that monopolies in IT were “natural” and that it was natural that M$ have a monopoly in desktop OS, he was clueless. Two decades later people were saying that about Apple and tablets but
“During the second quarter of 2013, the number of Android-powered tablets surpassed iOS-based slates for the first time, tablet-related hardware revenues reached parity, and perhaps most important, the average selling price (ASP) of iPad is rapidly approaching the market average.”
The reality is different these days. Monopoly does not stand a chance with FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) because FLOSS can always beat the price of non-Free software. In reality, price matters. Apple making its own OS from scratch is more expensive and less flexible than the world cooperating to create Android/Linux and a raft of applications that perform very well compared to Apple’s stuff. Apple did have a near-monopoly for a couple of years… but then Android/Linux gained a bunch of ISVs and OEMs and took off. No single OEM had to develop all that software so every single OEM could ship a great product for less money than Apple. QED
The same is happening with desktop/notebook operating systems. The last hint of monopoly is that many retail shelves still offer nothing but M$’s OS. That’s changing rapidly as Dell doubles it stores selling Ubuntu GNU/Linux in China and, globally, fewer desktop/notebook systems are being sold. OEMs are shipping GNU/Linux trying to produce more profit in a shrinking market. The world is demanding less expensive/bulky/energy hogging systems and GNU/Linux is providing them. This is not about replacing one monopoly with another. It is about destroying monopoly. No one business can have a monopoly with FLOSS because of the FLOSS licences. They can still compete and win on price/performance which is good for everyone.