Big tech under fire
Amazon, Apple and Facebook are facing sharp criticism from law makers in the United States over their business practices. Among the concerns are Google’s stealing content from smaller firms, Apple’s extortionate App Store, Facebook’s acquisition of rivals like Instagram and Amazon’s behaving like a bloodthirsty drug dealer. So, nothing major then.
The most scathing attack came from Democratic Congressman Cicilline, who quoted one of Amazon’s business partners as saying that Amazon was like ‘heroine’ and that it eventually led their downfall. But just like any good cartel kingpin, Jeff Bezos responded by saying that this was all ‘good for the consumer’.
Amazon has been investigated for its practice of hosting sellers on their site while simultaneously competing with them by offering similar products at cheaper rates. It’s the old bait and switch.
Republican congressmen and women have taken a slightly different approach in the hearings. ‘I’m just going to cut to the chase – big tech is out to get conservatives’ said Jim Jordan, Congressman from Ohio. Because tech companies really have nothing better to do than persecute boomer Republicans for their angry Facebook rants.
Some believe that big tech needs to be broken up by state intervention while others want social media giants to change their own behaviour without being forced. Congress is unlikely to come to an agreement on any kind of legislative fix to the situation… which is surprising to literally no one.
Luckily, help is at hand. President Donald Trump has pledged to use is biggest marker pen to sign away some executive orders that will limit some of Silicone Valley’s most famous names in order to allow for newcomers to compete in a fairer environment.
Sun cream enthusiast Mark Zuckerberg had his own headache to answer to after some of his emails were leaked in which he boasts of ‘neutralising’ competition from Instagram.
The ‘big four’, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple, could find that future acquisitions of smaller companies become much harder to close as scrutiny over their empire building intensifies.