I modified the headline slightly to state that oligopolies have been forming everywhere (and I have written extensively about consolidation). While I took the philosophical construct, it is necessary to focus the gaze on the radiation therapy machines.
I won’t go into details, as of now but the technology (and stacks) is horrendous. I have been heavily influenced by open-source philosophy and firmly believe that the community should benefit. It is also at the centre of my assertion that public funding of crucial technologies is essential so that the benefits flow to them. I am not a “dyed-in-wool” leftist but strongly advocate that nation-states should fund the defence heavily, which leads to multiple spin-off benefits. The US has benefited until the ’90s after which the corporations took over. Rest is history!
Here again, I am drawing parallels between big technology and other sectors like linear accelerators that have duopolies. I’d probably work it as a long-form to look into how these have hurt innovation; especially adaptive radiation and biological optimisation that has been extremely slow to pick up. A case in point- MR-Linac that required considerable resources and engineering know-how. I think, after the advent of 3D-CRT and modulation, MR Linac is actually an epochal event, which is muted surprisingly. It opens up the gateways for real functional and in-vivo adaptive XRT for the future. The duopolies have invested significant resources in pushing the physical limits of optimisation, for example. I hope it changes in the future.
The most important question below (emphasis mine):
But are regulators in any position to make accurate judgments about what those new markets will be, and which small acquisitions will provide the key to unlocking them? It will also be hard to ban deals in the booming cloud computing market, where an oligopoly has been forming. As the UK’s review of Looker shows, the regulators are sure to kick the tires to see what is permissible as new tech markets take shape. Whether they will act is another question.
At the other end of the size scale are the many smaller deals that slip under the radar, but which have been instrumental in consolidating Big Tech’s grip on important new technologies. Chief among these is AI. Since Beats, Apple has spent less than $1bn a year on dealmaking — but it has been mopping up small AI companies as it tries to match the big lead of Google and Amazon.
Apple tends to move gradually before “announcing” anything new. They are laggards in tech space only because they are incredibly conservative to ensure that the benefits of closed ecosystem accrue to them alone.