Big Tech is a term coined in 2008 to describe the major corporations behind the Internet revolution. Some also accuse them of tax evasion and meddling in users’ private lives.
According to Eric Schmidt, Phil Simon and Scott Galloway, the creators of the (un)glorious title, the Big Four are companies that have a huge impact on the changes taking place in society. Although there are more powerful technology corporations, it is the ones under the term Big Tech that are making the biggest impact on people’s lives through their role in online activities.
The Big Four are Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook, sometimes Microsoft is also included in this group. According to experts, Big Tech tries to take control of the Web by using patent and copyright laws, concentrating market and financial forces, but based on the principles of capitalism. As a result of the actions of industry giants, the Internet has become a market divided between them, that is, a few powerful monopolists
Technology vs. politics
Big Tech are companies that concentrate centers of power, data, Internet connectivity, and computer hardware and software. They produce smartphones and their operating systems, navigations, and provide Internet services – social networking, email, instant messaging and search engines, and streaming systems.
Due to the extremely rapid growth of these corporations, and the fact that politicians have had, and continue to have, trouble understanding the problems associated with new technologies, they have had to work out the rules of the market themselves. This has led to deregulation and even more strengthening of their monopoly.
Whether Big Tech is already too powerful is hotly debated in politics. Breaking up a market hegemon would not be unprecedented in the judicial history of the United States. In 1911, the Supreme Court declared the oil company Standard Oil an “illegal monopolist” and dissolved it. The growing inequality in the U.S. caused by the pandemic will not help calm the discussion any time soon. Jeff Bezos himself – founder of Amazon – has become about $70 billion richer since Covid-19 emerged.
Pandemic doesn’t scare them
Despite the crisis, the U.S. S&P 500 index is up about 14% through 2020. According to the OECD, the gross domestic product of the global economy shrank by 4.2% over the same period. While many countries’ economies are bleeding, stock markets are reaching record highs in some cases
A glance at the top of the largest U.S. listed companies will help explain this conundrum – it is Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google (officially Alphabet) that today account for about 22% of the value of the entire S&P 500 index. Adding other major technology corporations to the calculus, namely streaming giant Netflix, payment service provider PayPal or e-car manufacturer Tesla, one can clearly see the direction in which the entire U.S. market is moving
The changes observable before the pandemic have accelerated with the imposition of restrictions and lockdowns coming into effect. The use of Facebook, Netflix and Youtube has increased exponentially, Amazon’s remote shopping has proven to be a necessity in many cases, and Microsoft’s products have become an integral part of offices moved to the comfort of home.
Were it not for the aforementioned five giants, the S&P 500 index would have only been losing value since the beginning of the year. In July 2020, there was a situation where three-quarters of all stocks in the index rallied, but it was only up 0.2% – Big Tech prices were falling at the same time, offsetting the rise of the rest of the stock market. Apple and Microsoft have tripled in value over the past five years, even though their sales have increased by 20 and 50 percent respectively over the same period.
Big Tech outside of America
The S&P 500 index is valued at about $11 billion at this point. And giants from other countries, particularly Asian megacorporations, are also lining up for the title. Some experts already in 2016 postulated the inclusion of Samsung, Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent among Big Tech.
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