"Computer history has some interesting parallels with the
history of the American West. After the initial forays of Lewis and
Clark and the first set of explorers, early settlers crossed the
plains in covered wagons. But the West wasn't accessible to most
Americans until the age of the railroads, when the Union Pacific
Railroad put tracks across the continent and started running a
regular passenger service.
"To ride the trains, you needed to pay a fare to the railroad
companies. These companies became huge monopolies, because they
controlled the only way for the average person to cross the
country. For a time the railroads were it, and as long as the
tracks went where you wanted to go, the rails were the cheapest and
best way to get there. And after all, the major cities all
developed along rail routes, so where would you want to go that you
couldn't get to by rail...?"