The 5 tech monopolies to watch out for
How Google, Facebook and Amazon are taking over the world
The gadget man of today faces a hard choice: in an age of explosive variety across the technology market, it seems simpler to stick with a single company for all your devices, apps, and online services. For one, they’re more likely to sync seamlessly together than with any badly-matched rivals.
But just as risk-averse investors choose to diversify their portfolio and vary their strands of income – in case any one should fall through – so too are savvy consumers resisting alliance with one, homogenous brand. So who are the big players fighting for your unswerving loyalty?
As a corporation built on the back of its speedy next-day delivery system, it’s perhaps fitting that Amazon has its sights set on the world of tomorrow. It was pioneering in the use of drones as package-couriers, and recently patented an airborne warehouse to act as a hive of literal worker drones.
Having expanded to offer a streaming service for music and films, alongside a popular ‘Lumberjack’ software developer engine, Amazon is felling the competition tree by tree.
There’s already widespread concern over the social network’s status as the primary news source for millions of users worldwide, especially given their difficulty in moderating content and preventing the spread of so-called ‘fake news’.
Always looking to expand, however, founder Mark Zuckerberg set out his long-term plan for his website-ecosystem in a conference address this week, promising global internet access by 2026 and an augmented-reality system that tracks your own thoughts for immediate media updates. Mind-boggling.
It’s easy to forget now, but this subscriber-based streaming behemoth started off as a humble DVD renting business (a service they still offer now).
Their ability to transform their business model – seemingly on the fly – has let them surge into a transnational success, catering to viewers of all ages, locales, and demographics. But with $6bn thrown into developing their own programming, traditional studios and producers are warning against the website’s monopolising of content creation.
Oh Microsoft. Loved for its ease-of-use programs and compatibility; hated for its stubbornly unsexy interfaces. The ubiquitous tech giant lords over a dominion of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and sheafs of office e-stationary, having cemented its Windows operating system as the default program for modern computing.
These days, founder Bill Gates is mainly in the news for his philanthropy, rather than his company’s endless ambitions, but leading figures in the digital industry have decried Windows 10’s attempts to dominate software infrastructure across PCs and entertainment consoles.
Chances are, you found your way here with some help from the world’s biggest search engine (and possibly their sleek Chrome browser). But the company’s digital dominance comes with responsibility, and Google has faced numerous legal challenges over ‘blacklisting’ competing sites to prevent them coming up in search results. Not to mention some questionable data-mining practices.
With Google handling your emails and online browsing, while their new AI home assistant sneaks into living rooms, it’s hard not to feel like someone’s always watching. Luckily they’ve announced some Google-branded vodka to help you forget your fears…