EU to file antitrust charges against Amazon
While the US government (FTC, DOJ) continues its months long investigation of antitrust practices of Big Tech, including Amazon, the European Union moves to file charges against Amazon.com. The charges stem from Amazon’s use of third party seller information to develop its own private label brands. The charges may provide guidance to the U.S. commissions investigating Amazon. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Once again, the European Union regulators act decisively and (relatively) swiftly against U.S. based tech companies. While U.S. regulators continue threats against the same companies that are increasingly driving the tech economy, E.U. regulators are on the offensive, setting precedents for online commerce. Recall that the E.U. acted decisively more than two years ago in implementing the sweeping GDPR standard to protect and enforce data privacy — a move that U.S. regulators are yet to emulate.
GrubHub to merge with European Just Eat Takeway.com
GrubHub’s merger talks with Uber broke down amidst concerns of regulatory resistance, given that two of the three largest food delivery networks were planning to combine. The merger with Europe’s Just Eat Takeaway.com will provide scale, but will be less likely to be perceived as anti-competitive. Just Eat Takeaway.com’s merger with GrubHub will offer a premium over proposed terms of the Uber deal. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Food delivery, like ridesharing, offer significant benefits in convenience to customers, but are built on business models with thin margins. Scale is the only answer to long-term viability, and GrubHub has found a partner to provide the bulk it needs in order to compete in a cutthroat competitive environment. The company hopes it has found the thin line between sufficient scale and anti-competitive size.
Google, Facebook and Microsoft cooperate to end online child sex abuse
There are more than 4.5 billion people online, and content for every possible age and interest. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have formed a coalition called the Technology Coalition to provide more resources to detect and prevent the sexual exploitation of children on the internet. Predators have been detected on child-specific sites such as Roblox, and the Technology Coalition wants to make it easier to identify and block bad actors. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Despite the world wide web being around for thirty years or more, it still feels like the early days, in many ways. With ever more innovative devices providing households and all ages with access to content, protecting children is extremely difficult. With children receiving smartphones at young ages, the barriers to adult content and the sharks that swim with it are nearly non-existent. The Technology Coalition has much room to work here, as the parental controls industry seems to have failed to develop effective solutions that offer safety without making managed surfing highly frustrating. Perhaps this is the place for AI to help find that gray area between dangerous and edgy.
Oculus Quest: still the best VR headset
Virtual reality (VR) has come a long way, and Facebook’s Oculus provides the best experience, according to CNET. The experience is simple, requiring few cables, connectors and software drivers. For gaming, new concepts, and alternate worlds, the company is on the leading edge. The dilemma, however, is that the technology does not fit into current reality as a tool or extension of our current daily routines.
dis-rup-shun: What will it take for VR headsets to become a mainstream consumer technology? If VR provided an alternative, and more enjoyable way to perform ordinary tasks, like participate in social media or even check and answer emails, then the technology would become mainstream. For now, VR is the tool for specialists, be it for intense gaming or learning. It will likely be another year or two until VR makers learn how to appeal to the mass tech market.