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View Diary: Comcast admits what everyone in a TWC/Comcast market already knows: there is no competition (125 comments)

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  •  alas, this is true in virtually every industry (18+ / 0-)

    In any industry one looks at, worldwide, anything from cars to computers to corn, there are only a tiny handful of enormous global corporations who dominate virtually the entire market. And like Mafia dons, they have divided the entire market into turfs that they share without having to be constantly fighting with each other. I.e., to wipe out "competition".

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 06:26:16 AM PDT

    •  It seems "competition" is no longer about (18+ / 0-)

      companies competing with each other.

      But is only used to talk about how people should compete with each other for jobs.

    •  Not really, look at the industries you highlighted (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, Back In Blue

      No company has 25% share of the market in computers or autos.

      Competing against them is generally difficult in these large well established markets because the profit margins are so narrow.

      HP, when it was the largest PC maker in the world was looking into selling off that business because of how difficult is has been to make a profit.

      Not that long ago people would routinely call Microsoft and IBM dominant and near monopoly and subject to government anti-trust actions.  Neither one is considered a leading force in the industry today.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:10:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Umm...? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, orestes1963, blueoasis
        Not that long ago people would routinely call Microsoft and IBM dominant and near monopoly and subject to government anti-trust actions.  Neither one is considered a leading force in the industry today.
        Help me out here: are you arguing just that 'desktop computers are no longer in any way important, and therefore Microsoft is no longer considered a 'leading force'?' Or, if not, what exactly are you arguing? Because Microsoft still has over a 90% market share in OSes.

        •  OSs are only a small part of Computer Industry (0+ / 0-)

          Sales and a rapidly declining share of the software industry.  Microsoft's share of the software market is now under 20% so their share of the overall computing market is far less than 20%.  Microsoft's share on phones, tablets and Cloud computing is tiny.  Amazon is a far bigger force in Cloud computing than Microsoft.

          Microsoft's System software share has fallen quite a bit with the rise of various flavors of Linux, VMware, Android, IOS.  Due to the nature of how Linux is opensource, its influence and importance to the computing industry is far understated by the sales of Redhat and other Linux providers.  In addition, cloud computing has shifted the industry away from Microsoft.  Much of the computing we do today Google, Facebook,, twitter, most all websites, etc bypass Microsoft in the cloud.

          Talk to people in the computing industry who don't work for Microsoft and ask, "Is Microsoft Still the leading force in the Computing industry?  They will think you are living in the 1990s.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 12:49:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But OS's are a critical part (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It is my understanding that Microsoft has agreements with manufacturers to install their OS.  Aren't most computers still operated on MS OS?  As you may be aware, Microsoft blocked other software providers from operating on their OS's.  This has been the subject of an ongoing challenge by the EC's Competition Bureau.  They have compelled MS to lessen its controls over software through its OS, but there are still hurdles for other providers.  Much like the ways in which Apple tries to control the music market by making it difficult to harmonize iTunes with other content sellers.  

            •  Most computing does not use a Microsoft OS (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              orestes1963, wilywascal

              Most computing is done today on derivatives to open source Linux or some other Unix inspired operating system (eg, FreeBSD, IOS, MacOS or QNX).  The servers used by DKos are Linux  as are what data centers typically use. If you access a website, it is far, far more likely to be using Linux than any Microsoft operating system.  If you use NetFlix, the video is shipped on servers running Linux.  If you use a smartphone or tablet - more than 95% don't use Microsoft but a Linux/Unix.  If you use WiFi, the router is almost guaranteed to be running Linux.

              The Microsoft practice of licensing its OS so that PC vendors would almost always pay Microsoft for a license for every PC shipped (through better discounting if a computer company did this) ended in the 1990s.

              Desktops and laptops are being used for many years more than they were in the past, while smartphones and tablets are replaced far more frequently.  Most people spend more each year on average on smartphones and tablets than they do traditional desktops or notebooks.

              Even on traditional PCs running windows, the computing focus for most people has become the web Brouwer as a computing platform, making the choice of OS largely incidental.

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 04:37:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Tell it to AMD and Intel. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Is it "Gordon Gecko Democrat" week here at Dailykos?

        by JesseCW on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 02:09:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  By far the most commonly used microprocessors (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          are the various ARM processors made by Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia, Apple, Broadcom, etc.  this is what smartphones, tablets, autos, routers, etc.. and increasingly servers with better energy efficiency use.

          These processors are shipped in multiples of the units shipped by Intel or AMD.  In addition, the share going to non Intel and AMD increases each year.

          Most all people have more ARM based processors in their possession than x86 architectures.

          Computing has changed since the 1990s.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 03:34:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Comcast is a monopoly.... (15+ / 0-)

      in my small city, Comcast has been the sole provide for years, and due to the large number of historic homes, dishes are not welcome.

      So 2 years ago, Verizon got the go ahead to bury fiber cable along all the residential streets, which cost millions.  I got this info from one of the Verizon foremen.  And when they finished, the city council said, sorry, we only want Comcast as our sole provider for the city.

      True story.  It would seem to violate anti-monopoly laws, among other things, but apparently there is a loophole for Comcast.

      •  Where I live here, (3+ / 0-)

        There is Comcast.

        There is nothing else.

        The postal carrier can't even deliver mail reliably. We are always complaining to the local station manager, but nothing gets resolved. Our mail gets mis-delivered across the whole community.

        So there is Comcast.

        (Oh, the UPS guy is pretty good. I suppose I could use UPS to pay all my bills, eh?)

        © grover

        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:30:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd like to know more about.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yoduuuh do or do not, blueoasis

          Comcast CEO.  I think he is a real conservative.  I researched him a couple years ago, but forgot the details.

          I hate Comcast.  They do two things well: lie, and up-sell.

          •  They're very good at "accidentally" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PrahaPartizan, blueoasis

            Disconnecting transferred customer service calls on difficult cases.

            "Oh. You'll have to speak to our technical services/billing/cancellation department. Let me transfer you"

            -------- dial tone---------

            © grover

            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 11:13:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Their customer service will also straight up lie (4+ / 0-)

              to customers.
              They are a very scummy corporation.

              •  If that's the case TW is a perfect match (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                orestes1963, grover

                for Comcast because in my city Time Warner is the scummiest of the scummy. " Customer service"?  Forgitaboutit.

                Proud to be a Democrat

                by Lying eyes on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 07:18:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So true and yet.... (0+ / 0-)

                  Local and County Boards keep granting them monopoly status.  You think money & favors to board members might be the cause?  'Cause it ain't constituent satisfaction.

                  The only reason the 1% are rich is because the 99% agree they are.

                  by GreatLakeSailor on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:58:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Yup. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joynow, flavor411

                One told me that my free router thingy was shipped on schedule. UPS has attempted delivery but I wasn't home.

                At that moment, my UPS guy arrived.

                I order a lot from Amazon, so I know my UPS guy pretty well. I asked him -- with her still on the phone -- hey, did you attempt to deliver a Comcast box to me today?

                He said, "I have no idea what you're talking about." And he stood there  quite annoyed  while I asked her why she lied to me.

                He then left.

                I then asked to be transferred to the service disconnection department. Surprise! Dial tone!

                I did evetially reach that department. An installler personally delivered my router  thing. And I got three free months of internet.

                I was furious, as you could probably imagine. My UPS guy told his supervisor because THEY often get blamed when things go wrong. And they finally had proof Comcast has been blaming UPS for its screw-ups to customers. Apparently, UPS wasnt going to drop the matter.

                I hate Comcast.

                © grover

                So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

                by grover on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:44:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, their customer service..... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  sorry I mean their "Let's screw the customer department" tried to charge me an installation fee when I knew the cable was already on in the apartment I had moved into.
                  After a couple calls that ended with me hanging up on them because they pissed me off for various reasons, I picked up that they used the term 'hot' for a residence that didn't need the cable turned on.

                  I called back and said the apartment was 'hot' and the person on the other end said; "Yes, I can see it on my computer".
                  These fuckers were lying to me the whole time to get an unnecessary "installation fee"

                  I've dropped my cable down to the basic and will eventually drop it completely.

                  I hate the thought of giving my money to scum like Comcast.
                  As they say, "The fish stinks from the head".

                  •  During the last 2 years I lived at my previous (0+ / 0-)

                    apartment, we had only Internet service with Comcast.  We determined that the triple-play wasn't necessary - whenever the Internet went down, we'd also lose our landline service.  For a brief period, I had Clearwire wireless for the Internet in my office, but it was slow and unreliable, so we went back to just using Comcast.

                    I'd say, however, if you can just do Wi-Fi with your wireless service, you'll be better off.  Just not Clearwire - use Verizon or whomever is the dominant wireless provider in your area.

          •  The way you deal with that level (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mostserene1, Lying eyes, grover

            at comcast is to get their current main office number and call them at 0831 everyday until they know you. I have had to lay siege to them in the past and that is what got the problem fixed.

            Please and thank you failed. Bullying them paid off.

            Should not have needed to come to that but, as I said, please and thank you accomplished nothing.

            Legal means "good".
            [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

            by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 01:05:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  *** Comcast customer service extension ****** (0+ / 0-)

              Thanks, Doc.

              Tagging this in my comments for future reference.

              © grover

              So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

              by grover on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:46:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  By contrast, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Verizon has the monopoly in my adopted hometown of Ipswich, MA.  It was decided here to make them the sole provider; I don't think I've seen a single satellite dish up here, whereas when I lived in Salem (Nov 2009-Feb 2014), there were dishes on quite a few houses for those not wishing to be so dominated by Comcast, which had the lock on the town.

        Verizon also has a great deal more wireless coverage in New England - I'm the only member of my family currently living in MA, all the rest are in ME, where only 2 companies have cell towers (Verizon and US Cellular - the latter company is owned by Verizon, so I've heard).  This means I'm roaming with my AT&T phone when I'm there, which costs; they don't like it when you roam.

        Whatever way you slice it, telecom service in this country is getting less and less competitive.

      •  And, Comcast is presevring their monopoly ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... in the same way that phone and power companies used to - by claiming that "nobody else can use OUR wire."  Which we know is only true because they don't ALLOW anyone else to use their wire.  It's just the same age-old argument about sharing one's toys that should have been learned in kindergarten!

        What I'm saying here is that if POWER providers have to share the wiring infrastructure to your home, so you can choose a POWER provider, and if PHONE SERVICE providers also have to share the wiring infrastructure to your home, so you can choose a phone company, WHY don't CABLE providers have to share the wiring infrastructure to your home?  Well, there are two answer to this question -

        1) They don't want to (because then there WOULD be competition), AND

        B) They don't HAVE to (which speaks to the need for regulations to SUPPORT competitiveness - in EVERY market segment!)

        OF COURSE the New Right is wrong - but that doesn't make WRONG the new RIGHT!

        by mstaggerlee on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 09:40:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The difference is that for cable TV... (12+ / 0-)'s always been this way.

      There has never been a time in the history of the cable TV industry going all the way back to its origins in the late forties where it has been common for cable companies to compete against each other.


      That's the reason why the FCC and local municipalities once regulated the cable industry pretty heavily -- it was recognized as a natural monopoly, and regulated as such.  But then came the deregulation mania of the eighties and nineties, and most of that regulatory structure was eliminated.  Because somehow free markets are supposed to work in the absence of competition.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:36:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cable is a natural monopoly: ding ding ding!!! (9+ / 0-)

        there are two reasonable public policies to deal with a natural monopoly:
        public ownership, or strict regulation as a public utility.

        Allowing deregulated private monopolies to extort as much money as the traffic will bear should be offensive even to free market fundamentalists.  A healthy democracy would laugh it out of court.  

        The fact that it is not merely taken seriously, but is allowed to dominate our telecom infrastructure is a sign of the decadence of democracy in the US.
        We need to take it back.

        There's no such thing as a free market!

        by Albanius on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 11:19:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are no free market fundamentalists. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, JerryNA, orestes1963, blueoasis

          That's just a cover.  It allows them to say whatever they like (or are paid to say) on any given day and never be challenged on the substance of their positions because we all know they are Free Market FundamentalistsTM. Everything they say must be a Free Market TruthTM.  It's what allows them to make the contradiction Al Franken pointed out without anyone caring.

          America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

          by Back In Blue on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 12:13:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  origins of cable service (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA, yoduuuh do or do not

        Where I grew up, cable tv didn’t exist until the late ‘70s/ early ‘80s. I was a kid back then and definitely remember cable being something of a luxury item that not a lot of people had. Even though cable is a natural monopoly I think it was never regulated as such because it wasn’t anything close to an essential service.

        Fast forward to today, when cable is the default medium for broadband access and there is no question that cable looks a lot more like something that should be a regulated public utility. DSL is an alternative, but only in the sense that it’s an inferior substitute for cable. As for fiber optic…the cable monopoly will have to be addressed long before fiber is reality for most people.

        Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

        by Joe Bob on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 01:14:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The origins of cable TV... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stitchingasfastasIcan, enufenuf

          ...were actually in areas where no TV service was available off the air, which meant if you wanted to watch TV you had to subscribe to cable.

          But since cable mostly served out of the way areas and had only a small number of subscribers, it was mostly ignored by federal regulators until the seventies.  However, it was franchised and controlled at the local level, and the cities that granted the franchises had some say in the pricing of the service.

          That say at the local level was effectively preempted by federal law in the nineties, during the deregulatory fervor of the period.  A stupid law then, and it's even more stupid today as broadband service becomes a basic utility.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 10:33:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Indeed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            cable was originally just a way to get three channels if you could only get two by adjusting the rabbit ears just so.  Gradually, as independent TV stations sprang up and PBS became more widespread, it meant you could actually use the UHF dial on your old gigantic TV set that required a team of strong men with a dolly to move.

            Funnier still, I recall reading - in the summer of '95 or so - the obituary of the woman who'd created the first cable provider!  I rather imagine she's spinning in her grave at what it has become in these latter days.  Springsteen did a song in '92 called "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" - now it's closer to 1000 channels, including various on-demand services, digital versions and other multiples.  Still vast piles of crap programming, too.

    •  This is a different type of market (0+ / 0-)

      Cable companies operate as local monopolies because of infrastructure demands, like utilities (most of which are also private these days).  

      There is clearly a problem of consolidation in many markets, but those are not comparable to the cable TV market.

    •  We need a Trust-bustin TR NOW! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Or regulate these markets like public utilities, and I think this is obvious to all political flavors.  Every home must have internet.  

    •  The Mafia (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It appears this 'Mafia' is not too bright; a cut in prices will bring more consumers to their business. They are amply compensated for their efforts and a cut in their salaries will have little effect on their life style but with the influx of customers they can quickly return to, if not exceed. their last cut.

      No country can be both ignorant and free - Thomas Jefferson

      by fjb on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 09:32:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And any other cable companies (0+ / 0-)

      competing against them tend to be small locals in areas not served by the big companies.  Until late 2009, I lived in Greene Co., NY; there, and the county bordering us east of the Hudson (Columbia Co.), were not served by TWC but by the small Hudson Valley Cable (and their service record was horrible).  That's unless you have other forms of broadband - say, satellite (which is prohibitively expensive and even more cutthroat than cable) or FiOS (of which there are 2 providers in the Greater Boston area where I now live - Verizon and the much smaller [and less expensive] RCN).  Verizon has cornered the market in my adopted hometown of Ipswich.  It's to the point now that these big companies can persuade town halls to let them have a lock on local service.

      That being said, I find FiOS to be far and away superior to cable and do not miss Comcast's very hit-and-miss service and incompetent installation techs.

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