Why Microsoft is Part of an Oligopoly in The Market for Operating Systems

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 471 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jan 30, 2024

Words: 471|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jan 30, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Overview of the Oligopoly Market Structure
  2. Dominance of Microsoft in the Market
  3. Competition within the Oligopoly
  4. Impact of Microsoft's Oligopolistic Behavior
  5. Potential Threats to Microsoft's Oligopoly
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

The market for operating systems is an oligopoly, characterized by a few dominant firms controlling the majority of the market. Microsoft is a significant player in this market due to its historical dominance and market control. This essay will provide an overview of the oligopoly market structure, analyze Microsoft's dominance in the market, examine competition within the oligopoly, evaluate the impact of Microsoft's behavior, and discuss potential threats to its position.

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Overview of the Oligopoly Market Structure

An oligopoly is a market structure where a small number of firms have the majority of market share. In the market for operating systems, barriers to entry, such as high fixed costs and product differentiation, limit new firms from entering the market. Firms in an oligopoly are interdependent, meaning they must consider the actions of their competitors when making strategic decisions.

Dominance of Microsoft in the Market

Microsoft has historically had significant control over the market for operating systems, with its Windows operating system being the dominant choice for personal computers. As of 2021, Windows held an estimated 78% of the global operating system market share, giving Microsoft substantial market power. The company has employed pricing strategies and established long-standing relationships with hardware manufacturers to maintain its dominance in the market.

Competition within the Oligopoly

While Microsoft is the dominant player, there are other major competitors in the market, such as Apple's macOS and iOS and the Linux operating system. However, Microsoft's market share and dominance outweigh that of its competitors. These competitors employ strategies such as product differentiation to challenge Microsoft's position in the market.

Impact of Microsoft's Oligopolistic Behavior

Microsoft's dominant position in the market has implications for innovation and technological advancements, as the company's control can influence the direction of software development. Additionally, consumers may have limited choice and freedom when it comes to selecting an operating system, given Microsoft's dominance. The company has faced legal challenges related to its anti-competitive practices, such as pricing strategies and bundling of software.

Potential Threats to Microsoft's Oligopoly

Emerging technologies, such as cloud computing and mobile operating systems, pose potential threats to Microsoft's dominance in the market. Government regulations and intervention may also promote competition and reduce the company's market control. Changes in consumer preferences and demand for alternative operating systems could further challenge Microsoft's position.

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In conclusion, Microsoft's dominance in the oligopoly market for operating systems is significant due to its historical control, market share, and market power. While competition exists, Microsoft's position outweighs that of its competitors. The company's behavior has implications for innovation, consumer choice, and legal challenges. However, potential threats from emerging technologies, government intervention, and changing consumer preferences may impact Microsoft's position in the future.


  1. Statista. (2021). Global market share held by operating systems for desktop PCs, from January 2013 to May 2021.
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Why Microsoft Is Part of an Oligopoly in the Market for Operating Systems. (2024, January 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from
“Why Microsoft Is Part of an Oligopoly in the Market for Operating Systems.” GradesFixer, 30 Jan. 2024,
Why Microsoft Is Part of an Oligopoly in the Market for Operating Systems. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Jun. 2024].
Why Microsoft Is Part of an Oligopoly in the Market for Operating Systems [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 30 [cited 2024 Jun 24]. Available from:
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