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What Big Tech’s Riches Mean for Our Future

This article is part of the On Tech Newsletter. Here is a collection Past columns,

Every few months, I come up with new ways of saying that tech giants make a lot of money. Today, I give up.

All I can say is that the big tech companies are really, really, really, really big and really, really, really, really, really, really rich.

That’s also true for the company we know as Facebook, which ran into a financial brick wall on Wednesday. As far as we know, this could be the end of Facebook – maybe! – But the company is likely to continue to roll out fat profits for years.

America’s five technology superpowers – Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook – are Titanic, and still growing. They have almost infinite resources to help them stay on top. And their products are so in demand that even the obscure pieces of their empire are extremely popular.

Here are some numbers.

  • Apple’s profit for the previous year ($ 101 billion) – more than the combined annual profit of Walmart, General Motors, Exxon, Pfizer, Verizon, Disney, Coke and McDonald’s.

  • Do you know what YouTube Shorts are? No? That’s YouTube’s response to TikTok’s byte-sized videos, and Google said this week that people watched 15 billion of them. Every day. This number was so nutty that I kept asking people if I was misunderstood.

  • Facebook ક OK, Facebook is not in a good place. The number of daily users of Facebook and its messenger app has dropped slightly. The company warned that TikTok’s popularity was hurting it and that its advertising sales were skyrocketing, in part because of Apple’s recent restrictions on the collection of personal data on iPhone apps.

    I’m not sure I believe Facebook is in as much trouble as it suggests. Though. Facebook executives have a habit of warning of doom, but the company sticks with it.

    This time may be different. But the sudden outburst Facebook generated an average of $ 214 per user in the US and Canada last year. For free product. Facebook is the best money making machine in internet history, and if it dies, it will slowly. I believe.

  • Microsoft (not popular) owns the Bing search engine. It sells online ads there and elsewhere, including LinkedIn. And yet the company’s annual ad sales of over $ 10 billion are about 20 times that of The New York Times’ 2021 ad sales.

  • Amazon’s share price – like many tech companies – has fallen nearly 18 percent so far this year. But Amazon is so huge that a wipe-out value alone ($ 267 billion) is equal to Disney’s total value. Jeff Bezos’s new yacht is so big that a bridge in the Netherlands would be demolished to accommodate the height of the boat. It is rich.

Outside of tech, large U.S. corporations also do a lot of dandy. But tech superpowers are on a completely different planet from just the big and rich ones.

Big Tech’s continued financial turmoil raises important questions for this newsletter: Is Big Tech’s success good for us? And are those five superpowers bigger and more impressive because they make good stuff, or do their size and power virtually guarantee more dominance?

We know people and businesses Need Products from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. And those companies say they could die at any moment. The history of technology supports this. Influential companies do not tend to stay that way for long.

But these handful of technology companies have penetrated our lives, our economy, our world affairs and our minds to such an extent that they have been holding on for years. Microsoft and Apple are more than 45 years old each. Google and Amazon started almost a quarter of a century ago. Those companies have had a difficult time, but they have largely prospered and prospered for a large part of their history. We can’t imagine anything different.

Facebook is currently the smallest and most vulnerable group, but it has rediscovered itself over a decade and (so far) dispelled any doubts.

Anger at Big Tech – questions of illegal monopolies and how they control speech and the digital economy – boils down to debate over whether our digital lives are defined by dynamics or by permanent dynasties. We will see


Tip of the week

Brian X Chen, The Times’ personal tech columnist responded to our on-tech editor, Hannah Ingber, who asked a question she thought readers would too. Hannah wrote:

“I find it inconvenient to choose between cloud storage options (so I basically pay everyone). What to do? “(Hannah pays for three cloud storage services!)

Google Drive. Dropbox. Box. iCloud. Microsoft OneDrive. These are all cloud services, servers for storing our data online.

They’re convenient to use because you don’t have to worry about losing your data when copies of your files are in the cloud. It all costs a few dollars a month to store large amounts of data. So how do you choose just one?

I explored this question in a past column about the best way to manage your smartphone photos. Based on my conversations with Techies, the most sensible approach is to choose a service that is “device-agnostic.” This means cloud services that are not specific to a particular brand. It leaves iCloud, which works mostly for Apple products like iPhones.

It is important to choose a cloud storage service that gives you the freedom and flexibility to move your files elsewhere if you want to switch to a different device.

That’s why I often suggest that people store their data in Google’s cloud. Google’s cloud-based apps for word processing, photo management, spreadsheets and file storage work on Apple and Android phones. And in general, its tools can be used by a web browser on any computer or smartphone.

I usually type in a web browser on my Mac using Google Docs. And if I want to edit documents on PC, I can use the same tool in browser in Windows.

  • A solo hacker says he took North Korea offline: A U.S. security researcher using the name P4x Online told Wired that North Korean spies targeted him in a cyber attack last year. Disappointed by the apparent lack of response from U.S. officials, P4x says it hacked North Korea’s Internet from its living room and claimed responsibility for an online blackout in the country.

  • Cleaning services for bad reputation: The rest of the world explores companies that specialize in helping to scrub the Internet of information that wealthy business people and politicians do not like. Tech Publications reports that reputable management companies often use bogus copyright claims and fake legal notices to lure their customers to online news articles containing tax evasion, corruption or drug trafficking.

  • You buy everything online. What about cremation services?

I asked for a video of the sloth on Twitter, and The Sloth Institute has parked these long-limbed charmers in my feed,


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