The world has seen time after time that industries have the potential to change the world. The weapons industry has played a huge part in deciding wars (nuclear arms race), whereas the automotive and airline industries redefined locomotion and made the world a "smaller" place. Towards the end of the last century, it can be argued that no industry redefined and reshaped the world more than the computer industry. Computers are relied on daily in business, educational and entertainment venues. Currently, computers play an important role in activities throughout the world. They make communication more efficient (e-mail), arithmetic faster and more precise (accounting programs), and have made commerce more globalized (e-commerce). In the midst of the accomplishments that computers and the computer industry have made there are some weaknesses. In this paper, the spirit of the computer industry will be captured, with a particular focus on the "con" side of the computer industry's structure, conduct and performance. It will be shown that although computers appear to be an asset to global society, there are some improvements that need to be made in the industry.
The computer industry began as an oligopoly, where IBM controlled the market share by approximately 75% . In 1956, the five major firms competing in the computer industry were IBM, Sperry Rand (formerly Remington Rand), Burroughs, RCA, and NCR. There were other firms that entered the industry and left prior to 1969, as none could compete with IBM. The computer industry is now broken down into two divisions: software applications, in which Microsoft has a virtual monopoly; and hardware and microprocessors, which are oligopolies. The hardware and microprocessor sector is oligopolistic in that it has a few firms that own a large market share, and typically produce homogeneous or differentiated products. .
The market structure for computer software was originally oligopolistic in nature, yet changed to that of monopoly in the late 1980s, early 1990s.