Ofcom v Sky: The epic business battle of 2010
Banking, groceries and pay TV: do they cover the main ingredients for a thriving economy and the good society?
I only ask because the longest and most expensive competition investigations have been into those business sectors.
The latest is the three-year pay-TV probe, which reaches an end - of sorts - next week, when the media watchdog, Ofcom, publishes its final conclusions and proposed remedies.
There have been thousands of pages of submissions to Ofcom in this enquiry, a fair number of them from the company directly threatened, British Sky Broadcasting (which was still lobbying Ofcom, with some 100 pages of detailed economic analysis, some five months after the consultation was formally closed).
And while we'll have to wait for the detail, there is no doubt (based on what Ofcom has already published) that Ofcom's recommendations will send British Sky Broadcasting into paroxysms of fury.
Ofcom believes that BSkyB has "market power" in the supply of channels containing live sport and first-run Hollywood movies to competitors such as Virgin and BT.
The regulator has already concluded - in its preliminary verdict published last summer - that the way BSkyB exploits this market power restricts the choice of "channels and platforms" available to consumers and may be a deterrent to the development of "new platforms".
Or to put this in English, it believes that BSkyB has an unfair hold on the supply of movies and sport, that this gives it an unfair advantage in the battle to flog not just TV but broadband and telecoms too, and that rivals therefore must be allowed to re-sell BSkyB's sport and movies at a "reasonable" price (whatever that may be).
So BSkyB will be forced to sell rival broadcasters access to its films and sport - in normal and high definition format - at keener prices than it does today.
BSkyB will scream blue murder. It will claim that the ruling is a ludicrous punishment for its putative crime of investing in the distribution of sport and movies over 20 years. And it will warn that entrepreneurs will be discouraged from taking big risks if when the dividends are being reaped they are told that they can't maximise those dividends.
It's an argument deployed by all network companies - from Microsoft through to Google - that start off small and entrepreneurial and become vast and influential, when their market power is challenged by regulators.
In response, Ofcom will claim that BSkyB would be able to make decent profits from the regulated wholesale deals with rivals. They'll be priced on a "retail minus" formula, for those who are interested in the minutiae, which broadly means there'll be a better profit margin for BSkyB than under the "cost plus" formulas which regulators normally impose when setting prices.
And Ofcom's remedies won't just apply to the movies and sport that Sky actually shows. It will also have a pop at BSkyB's ownership of the movie-on-demand rights for all the major Hollywood studios - because these are rights that it owns but does not use.
Ofcom wants to see a separation of the sale of these on-demand movie rights from the sale of standard movie subscription rights - to speed the development of proper, broadband-based on-demand movie services.
Also, Ofcom will weigh into the always-contentious arrangements for the auction of Premier League football rights.
So for BSkyB, Ofcom's tanks are not on the lawn, but are actually bulldozing through the studios.
Which is why it is better than a racing certainty that British Sky Broadcasting will appeal against the ruling.
Or to put it another way, there'll be at least another year till we know for sure whether and how the pay-TV market will change.
Even so, Ofcom's verdict is a milestone, and a politically explosive one at that.
Why the political resonance?
Well here are three facts - and you can decide whether they are related or not.
James Murdoch, the chairman of BSkyB and the presumed heir to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation throne, has argued with some passion that Ofcom intervenes excessively in the media market and could do with neutering.
David Cameron, the leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, and a nose ahead in the race to be Britain's next prime minister, has announced an intention to scale back Ofcom and take it out of what he described as "making policy".
This is what Mr Cameron said last July: "with a Conservative Government, Ofcom as we know it will cease to exist. Its remit will be restricted to its narrow technical and enforcement roles. It will no longer play a role in making policy."
Also, News Corporation's most-widely-read newspaper, the Sun ("wot won it"), has switched allegiance from Labour to the Tories - and is currently heaping opprobrium on the government in its pages with what reads like undisguised relish.
All of which lends more than just a frisson - perhaps a better metaphor would be "earthquake" - to an investigation by Ofcom that represents the first attempt by any British regulator to argue that BSkyB as currently constituted has excessive market power and needs a bit of reining-back.