Today’s news that Apple sells almost 70 percent of songs online had us wondering about other industry giants. Some companies, whether because they make a great product, or were first to a particular industry, or some other reason entirely, make goods that manage to secure a massive amount of market share. Hit products that grab more than half of their market are very rare, and only occasionally can they hold onto that share over a long period of time. Whether these companies are monopolistic or abusive of their power is for others to decide. All we know is, they’re really, really big.
Here are five companies that control their markets. This is our question for you: Will these companies continue to dominate, or are they destined to lose share to competitors as time goes by?
Intel controlled 80.5 percent of the x86 CPU market in the second quarter of 2009, according to Digitimes. The chipmaker’s continued dominance of the PC chip market is impressive, but has drawn significant criticism — and legal action. The EU fined Intel 1.06 billion euros earlier this year for abusing its market position. Oh, and the company controls 49.7 percent of the GPU market, too.
Google may have given up a bit of U.S. search share in July, but it still nabbed 64.7 percent of searches made in the country, according to comScore, a number that puts Bing and Yahoo to shame. Talk of an antitrust investigation against Google has been brewing for a while, but nothing concrete has come about yet. Don’t count on that lasting.
Apple’s iTunes/iPod juggernaut continues to crush all comers. Data released today from NPD credits Apple with 25 percent of all songs sold in the U.S., online and off, in the first six months of 2009, and 69 percent of all songs sold online. The company sells a lot of iPods, too, with the ubiquitous devices accounting for 70 percent of MP3 players sold in the country.
OK, maybe this one is a little too obvious. Microsoft’s Windows is perhaps the most dominant tech product in existence today. The various flavors of Windows own 93.04 percent of the worldwide operating system market, with Apple a distant second. The company might be giving up ground to Firefox, but Internet Explorer still has more than 67 percent of the browser market. Oh yeah, then there’s Microsoft Office.
Hewlett-Packard has owned the printer market for many years, and this has continued into 2009. The company controlled 49.1 percent of the U.S. printer market in the first quarter of this year, according to IDC. If you look at just inkjets, that number goes even higher.