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Question #56869 posted on 04/01/2010 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is Intel Corporation a monopoly or oligopoly?

What are the difference between both?


A: Dear this had better not be your homework,

A monopoly (monos = "one" + polein = "to sell") is a single entity that controls a product's market, whereas an oligopoly (oligoi = "few" + polein = "to sell") is a small number of entities that produce the same or similar products, whose actions mutually influence each other.

Intel produces microprocessors, flash memory, motherboard chipsets, network interface cards, and bluetooth chipsets. It also has a long history as a producer of semiconductors. It competes with different companies in each of these fields, so its status depends on which product you're talking about. We typically think of them as a producer of CPUs for home computers, and in that respect their only real competition in this country is AMD. So, in that sense you could think of them as a duopoly, a sort of tiny oligopoly. When it comes to their other fields, they aren't nearly as powerful.