Big Tech stares down Congress


Congress summons Big Tech for a big chat

Top executives from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google were on the Hill this week, arguing that they are not monopolies and are not using customer data for competitive advantage. Data is used, said Amazon’s Sutton, to better serve customers, when asked if the company launches its own products based on what’s selling. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Everyone except for small business was a winner this week as congress persons posed as tough on tech, tech executives sounded smarter than legislators by delivering punchy but circuitous answers, and lobbyists validated their billings by offering evidence that tech is increasingly under fire by legislators. Legislators have to find the balance between an increasingly less-competitive landscape and nationalistic interests in defending against global competition, mainly from China, for next generation technology dominance.

Netflix faces first significant subscriber loss 

In Q2, Netflix faced loss of 130,000 U.S. subscribers and added only 2.7 million global subs instead of the predicted 5 million. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: Why is the unstoppable streaming service slowing down? A number of reasons, and they aren’t new competition, as Disney, Apple and AT&T’s ‘Netflix killer’ streaming services are not yet open. The reasons include saturation — with nearly 60% of U.S. households already subscribers, those that aren’t, don’t want to spend the money or don’t watch TV. Existing competition is increasing its original content, making some other services more desirable than Netflix (since House of Cards is finished), and rising inflation has been slowly taking a bite out of U.S. consumers’ disposable incomes. Netflix may be an indicator of a slowing economy.

AT&T and Microsoft form $2 billion alliance for cloud and 5G

AT&T announced that it will move much of its business computing needs to Microsoft’s public cloud, Azure. In addition, it’s 268,000 employee workforce will use Microsoft  365 applications for its computing needs. The $2 billion deal does not include AT&T outsourcing its network infrastructure, like cellular communications networks. The companies are also cooperating on development of 5G tools. Reuters

dis-rup-shun: This deal looks like a huge win for Microsoft and likely a cost-savings move for AT&T which continues to seek efficiencies as it prepares to engage in a long battle for streaming content viewership following integration of Time Warner. Microsoft Azure is cleaning up cloud services accounts from many companies that consider Amazon a competitor on various fronts including retailers (Walmart) and shippers (FedEx). Microsoft also secured additional defense against Google apps by ensuring that AT&T continues to use Microsoft’s office tools.

Maps with images only moments old

Online maps such as Google Street View feature photos of locations that are often months if not years old. Nexar’s Live Map application uses dash cam and smartphone images to refresh map images constantly, showing viewers a wreck moments after it happened. The company has been quick to address privacy concerns by stating that pictures of people, addresses and licenses are anonymized and blurred. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Privacy is a big concern when a) everyone’s every move is captured on a dash or doorbell camera, and b) companies collect and store those images and promise to self-police breaches in privacy. This puts companies in a position of high liability as they are liable to shareholders to monetize data they collect, and liable to society to not use that data in a way that would compromise privacy. Big profits come to those that expose secrets.

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