Apple, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook are the world’s five largest companies in terms of stock value. Together they have market capitalization of about 3 trillion dollars, about the net worth of the entire country of Switzerland.
…Yet today’s Silicon Valley and related high-tech companies are largely exempt from such traditional regulations. Facebook and Google run veritable monopolies. Facebook alone controls an estimated 40 percent of the world’s social-media market. It has more than 2 billion monthly users. Google controls about 90 percent of the world’s search-engine market. Apple earns $230 billion in annual revenue and is nearing a market value of $900 billion. Microsoft controls about 85 percent of the word-processing personal and business markets. Amazon alone was responsible for about 45 percent of all online sales of any sort last year.
This article is a very good overview of the growing concern regarding “Big Tech Data-opolies” by one of my favorite contemporary thinkers Dr. Victor Davis Hanson.
Google has fallen far from their original motto “Don’t be evil”. Facebook is facing political backlash from both sides. Despite these concerns and more, the big five remain media darlings, for now.
There are mumerings of government intervention in the form of regulations or trust busting style breakups. Short of government intervention consumers could in theory force these companies to be more responsible. As much as I would like that, I have little hope it will happen.
Dr. Hanson’s observations are not always popular or optimistic but they are usually right.