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The expansionary strategies of intellectual monopolies: Google and the digitalization of healthcare

Rikap, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-4153-4490 (2022). The expansionary strategies of intellectual monopolies: Google and the digitalization of healthcare. Economy and Society, doi: 10.1080/03085147.2022.2131271


As big tech companies are entering new industrial sectors, an open question concerns the drivers of their expansionary strategies. This paper proposes that these companies are currently entering sectors based on their data-driven intellectual monopoly power, thereby complementing the preliminary answer provided by political economy research which has argued that expansion is driven by their infrastructural power. This approach is developed through a historical analysis of tech giants as companies that systematically turn knowledge and data into intangible assets, showing their expansionary strategies in the healthcare sector to be mainly driven by insights obtained from those intangible assets (a monopolized intangibles driver) and by a quest for conquering new knowledge and data to perpetuate their intellectual monopolies (an intangibles prospecting driver). The paper further illustrates its arguments through a case study of Google’s expansionary strategy and its prioritized incursion into healthcare.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Publisher Keywords: platforms; big tech; intellectual monopolies; healthcare digitalization; Google.
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
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