Big Tech just seems to get bigger and bigger. The question is whether they are now becoming ‘established,’ less able to innovate and open to surprising new competition.
We are so obsessed with Big Tech, which generally means we are happiest when we are being rude about it/them. Their working practices, anti-competitive behaviour, and ethics all get fingers pointed at them and, probably, rightly so.
There is little question that Amazon promotes some ‘partners’ against their will, then either ups the commissions, buys them or buries them. There is little question that Google elbows other search engines into the tall grass, and there is little argument about whether or not Facebook is playing fair with its shotgun approach to advertising and its huge appetite for throwing its weight around. And, recently, Mr Biden swore in a very clever anti-trust lawyer as FTC Chair.
That is the Big Tech we love to hate. We even seriously question whether these companies are more powerful and influential than mere Governments.
So, what does come next, what is out there that will topple Big Tech?
The thing is that, while we were sleeping away, whichever lockdown was the last one, more Unicorns have been born than ever before. The number of Unicorns in a country is actually news in itself.
Reading the news feeds last week, looking for something interesting about Big Tech to criticise, a series of headlines caught the eye – and we had heard of not one of them.
Big Tech is now under serious attack.
The G7 has got irritated enough with Big Tech to agree to tax them 15% of profits reaped in their region. No more tax dodging for them. Google has been fined billions upon billions of dollars in the EU for being anticompetitive behaviour, Facebook is facing flack wherever they trade, and Apple is now rumbling on with software updates, enterprise boring new services, all of them are buying anything that looks like a potential threat, and none of them wants to risk some wind-swept new gadget or service.
It seems sensible to agree that the age of Big Tech (as we know it) might be coming to an end. The usual suspects will (and are) becoming established, boring and too accountable to grown-up shareholders.
Who will replace Big Tech is still anyone’s guess. What we do know is that there are now hundreds of Unicorns waiting in the wings, and with a decent wind, they will soon be household names.
Probably in areas like NFTs, that just make us feel a little bit older.