Pre-text: When it comes to shoes, there are only two brands I will buy –Nike and Adidas — because no other sneaker brand can compete with the engineering of the shoe since they don’t have the capital to do so. The technology — thanks to advanced and expensive engineering — you can get with a nice pair of Adidas Originals means that, as an adult, you realize it’s foolish to wear a brand just because it happens to be surfwear or something alike; you do away with the surfwear and wear what is better, and the better shoes come from Nike and Adidas. It’s no different with web browsers: there are clear advantages to using the better ones, and the rest, at least for now, need to be sacrificed.
The web browser is your solemn portal to the internet. No matter what computer you buy, the operating system installed provides you with a browser, or else you can’t get access to the internet where you do your web surfing and potentially install another one. It’s easy when you first start using computers just to become accustomed to the browser you’re using. But the more advanced Web user needs to start thinking a little bit, especially if they invest their time sitting in front of the World Wide Web because it is possible to make wrong decisions, and those decisions can cost you time and money.
These days most reliable browsers allow you to transfer data to a different browser if you ever need to change, but trust me, I’ve grown accustomed to using a browser before, and having to change isn’t as easy as just changing for the sake of changing. Each browser looks different, feels different, and for those with attention to detail, swapping browsers once one has established a bond with another may be an intolerable experience. I, for one, can’t use Firefox full time. I have to use it to write up certain tutorials, and for the sake of getting to know it so I am as much of an expert as I can be, but there’s something about that browser that I can’t get used to. For what feels like scores of years now, I have been a Chrome user. I use Chrome every day and need to continue to use Chrome every day because there’s nothing else out there that I can get used to (not even Edge, which I am ashamed of saying since it’s built very similarly to Chrome and owned by Microsoft).
For me, this dilemma should prove tenuous. Because Chrome has so much of the browser market share, it’s almost a given that it won’t be disappearing from desktops within my lifetime — that’s not commonly understood by the world but it is my prediction. They say that empires always rise and fall, but there’s a difference between an established empire and a developing one. We’ve never seen a developed empire fall, and it’s unlikely they ever will. When Internet Explorer went from owning the bulk of the browser market to collapsing almost overnight, while shocking, it wasn’t that unbelievable because it was a browser that needed better development and thus could easily be surpassed. Unsurprisingly to me, it was surpassed.
Thus, the first point to note when it comes to choosing which browser to surf the internet with is if your browser isn’t properly developed, it could one day be surpassed with something else to its detriment. And this bring’s me to my second point: it can be to its detriment because the success of a browser isn’t just dictated by whether or not people like you stick around to use it; it’s at the mercy of developer interest. And if developers aren’t developing on it as much as they are alternative browsers, it will result in a browsing experience that isn’t as good as other browsers. An example of this today is Decentraland. You no doubt have heard about cryptocurrency, but you might not have heard about virtual real estate selling for hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars in an online virtual world created on a blockchain that is backed by a cryptocurrency. Well, it now exists, and the most popular virtual real estate is being sold at Decentraland. What browsers are supported by Decentraland? Only two: Chrome and Firefox. It sounds bad, but given how much work goes into developing games that are so graphic intensive, it becomes understandable that developers simply don’t have the time and resources to make gaming environments compatible with every browser out there. This dilemma only becomes worse when you realize that some of the leading alternatives don’t even have the same browser foundation of code, which inevitably results in more work yet again for the developers who are only wishing to use the browsers as a portal to their creations. This will lead to a monopoly of market share for browsers, but it’s also an example of how some monopolies are sometimes necessary for growth. And what we’re likely to find heading forward is that monopolies will be responsible for most of the growth. It would seem a waste of society’s time and resources if developers unassociated with browsers, spent years developing on alternative browsers for the sake of avoiding monopolies. Monopolies are a natural occurrence of allocating capital to wherever we as individuals want to allocate it, and we need to think of solutions for this problem that go beyond sacrificing growth for the sake of minimizing monopolies.
Note: To see how monopolies are unavoidable, look no further than the Web. Shopify is an all-in-one website that allows small business owners to build their eCommerce websites. I used to know some small business owners with their own small business websites, and none of them were with Shopify. Maybe some of them will never migrate to Shopify because they’ve got their reasons. Maybe some others will join something else that is kind of like Shopify but not exactly Shopify. Regardless, it’s hard to claim that Shopify shouldn’t exist when it helps so many people. It should exist . . . and it’s a monopoly. And you can apply the same monopolistic business style for many things online. I had a friend recently approach me about a new business idea where we would utilize our website-founding managerial skills to help others who don’t know how to run their own websites. At first it sounded like a great idea. But I’m sure something else out there similar to Shopify for this type of a task already exists, and if it doesn’t, it’s coming soon. Does that mean my friend and I couldn’t be successful at running our own separate small business still? For me it probably does because I don’t have the same merit that he does at managing and maintaining websites; that’s his thing and what he’s really good at. I can just do it somewhat well. My forte before becoming a writer was managing and maintaining Windows but never websites; it took me a lot of years to get just one website to be remotely how I wanted its performance and aesthetics. If we were to get into philosophy and not just economics, I would say that he should be able to do that for a job or one of his jobs. But capitalist economics may have something to say about that should he ever try. It’s going to get very difficult for a lot of small business owners to somehow compete with all-in-one monopolistic solutions when they arrive. What is our solution to that going to be? Most people who consider themselves well-educated in economics think that we should just break up the monopolies. I’m telling you that’s illogical and never going to be possible as time goes on. These monopolies not only form because wealth falls into few hands but because good ideas will naturally turn into monopolies.