What Big Tech’s wealth means for our future

This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. This is a collection of past column.

Every few months, I make a concoction new methods say that the tech giants make a lot of money. Today, I give up.

I will just say that Big Tech companies are really, really, really, really big and really, really, really, REALLY rich.

That’s even true of the company we know as Facebook, hit a financial brick wall on Wednesday. This could be the end of Facebook as we know it – maybe! – but the company is likely to continue to generate lucrative profits for many years.

America’s five tech superpowers – Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook – are thriving and still growing. They have almost limitless resources to help them stay ahead. And their products are so in demand that even little-known lands in their kingdom are madly loved.

Here are some numbers.

  • Apple’s profit for the past year ($101 billion) is more than the full year’s combined profits of – take a deep breath – Walmart, General Motors, Exxon, Pfizer, Verizon, Disney, Coke and McDonald’s.

  • Do you know what YouTube Shorts are? Is not? They’re YouTube’s answer to TikTok-sized videos, and this week Google says people watched 15 billion of them. everyday. The number was so bad that I kept asking people if I had misunderstood.

  • Facebook… OK, Facebook is not a good place. The number of daily users of Facebook and its Messenger app has shrunk a bit. The company warns that TikTok’s popularity is hurting it and its ad sales are skyrocketing, in part due to restrictions that Apple imposed recently about personal data collection on the iPhone application.

    I’m not sure I believe Facebook is in as much trouble as it suggests. Not yet. Facebook CEO have the habit of warning of doombut the company continues to pursue.

    This time may be different. But even those sudden grimaces Facebook generated an average of $214 per user in the US and Canada last year. For a free product. Facebook is one of the best money making machines in internet history, and if it dies, it will happen slowly. I think.

  • Microsoft owns the (unpopular) Bing search engine. It sells ads there and elsewhere online, including on LinkedIn. However, the company’s annual advertising revenue is more than $10 billion, about 20 times the 2021 ad sales of The New York Times.

  • Amazon’s stock price – like that of many tech companies – has fallen this year, about 18 percent. But Amazon is so huge that it only needs to be wiped out ($267 billion) by Disney’s total value. Jeff Bezos’ new yacht is so big The bridge in the Netherlands will be dismantled to match the height of the boat. THAT is rich.

Outside the technology sector, large US corporations are mostly also work dandy. But the tech superpowers are on completely different planet from just big and rich.

Big Tech’s continued interest in finance raises the key question for this newsletter: Is Big Tech’s success good for us? And will those five superpowers grow and dominate because they make good things, or will their size and strength virtually guarantee further dominance?

We know that people and businesses need products from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. And those companies tend to say they could die at any moment. The history of technology supports that. Dominant companies don’t tend to stay that way for too long.

But a handful of these tech companies have become so deeply entangled in our lives, our economy, world affairs, and our brains that they’ve been in the grips of years. Microsoft and Apple are both over 45 years old. Google and Amazon started about a quarter of a century ago. Those companies have gone through hard times, but most of them have been rich and successful for large parts of their history. We can’t imagine anything different.

Facebook is the youngest and most vulnerable company today, but it has reinvented itself for a decade and outlasted (so far) any doubt.

Anger over Big Tech – questions about illegal monopolies and how they control speech and digital economies – sparks a debate about whether the digital life Our numbers are determined by dynamism or perpetual dynasties. We shall see.

Tip of the week

Brian X. Chen, The Times’ personal technology columnist, responded to our On Tech editor, Hanna Ingber, who posed a question she thinks readers will also have. Hanna wrote:

“I find choosing between cloud storage options incredibly nerve-wracking (so I basically just pay everyone). What? ” (Hanna pays for three cloud storage services!)

Google Drive. Drop box. Box. icloud. Microsoft OneDrive. These are all cloud services, which are servers to store our data online.

They are convenient to use because you no longer have to worry about data loss when copies of your files are online in the cloud. They all cost a few dollars a month to store a sizable amount of data. So how do you choose just one?

I explored this question in a past column about the best way to manage photos on your smartphone. Based on my conversations with technologists, the wisest approach is to choose a “device-agnostic” service. That means a cloud service is not specific to a particular brand. That removes iCloud, which largely works for Apple products like the iPhone.

It’s important to choose a cloud storage service that gives you the freedom and flexibility to take your files elsewhere if you want to transfer to another device.

That’s why I often suggest people store their data in the Google 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 are usable through a web browser on any computer or smartphone.

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

  • A solo hacker says he took North Korea offline: An American security researcher using the name P4x online told Wired that North Korean spies targeted him in a cyberattack last year. Frustrated with what he feels is a lack of clear response from US officials, P4x says that he hacked North Korea’s internet from his living roomand he has claimed responsibility for the intermittent power outages on the network in the country.

  • Bad reputation cleaning services: The Rest of the World has investigated companies that specialize in helping wealthy businessmen and politicians delete internet information they don’t like. Technology publication reports that reputation management companies often use bogus copyright claims and fake legal notices to try to take down online articles that contain allegations of fraud. tax, corruption or drug dealing of their clients.

  • You buy everything online. How about cremation service?

I asked on Twitter for videos of sloths and The Lazy Institute has parked these leggy charms in my feed.

We want to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this newsletter and what you’d like us to explore. You can contact us at ontech@nytimes.com.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/technology/big-tech-facebook-earnings.html What Big Tech’s wealth means for our future

Fry Electronics Team

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