Big IT has forced me to temper my libertarian ways
The network effects described above explain why there is one highly dominant search engine. One highly dominant short-form messaging platform. One highly dominant general social interaction platform. One highly dominate consumer goods platform. And one dominate operating system in most domains. (Android for phones, Windows for the desktop, Linux for the datacenter). It is also why IBM was basically Apple with 90+% market share back in the day.
These network effects themselves form an almost unassailable barrier to entry. Windows phone? G+? This is a real pattern, not a coincidence, and not due to corporate incompetence. (Other than the failure to realize what a meat grinder such an operation would be in the first place.)
But beyond this, what we have in EVERY case (except maybe, JUST maybe, Twitter) is that these dominate players extend vertically in a way which is not merely anti-competitive but actively damages the consumer's experience.
Google's actions regarding play services follow Microsoft's regarding IE so closely that you might think that surely they hired on some bored retired Microsoft director as a senior consultant or something. They talk about protecting the consumer, but what they are doing is driving the margins of their "partners" to zero by taking complete control over what the consumer is allowed to experience.
Only in this case, Google's real money comes from how much it gets into the head of every third person on the planet (soon to be every other thanks to their getting in bed with the Chinese).
I was in the USAF for a few years. I've seen government incompetence up close & personal. I don't like it, and I want government to have as little power as possible. But what is possible? I want a government to keep evil people from stealing my stuff. Also from getting into my head (personally--me, not some generic member of some group of thousands) to figure out just how to lure me into spending money I don't have on things I don't need, or to vote for policies that I would otherwise support. And yes, it is only getting worse. AI-driven, global tracking cookie-informed ads are coming, and they are coming fast. The only tool that I can even imagine to hold it back is regulation.
I don't even know who the good guys are anymore.