Here’s how the Big Tech breakup should go down

The US House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee released its findings last week after a year-and-a-half-long investigation of Big Tech companies Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. Right at the beginning of the 400+ page report, the committee didn’t mince words about its findings: “To put it simply, companies that were once scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.” Those of us in Silicon Valley who have worked up close with these firms were not surprised to find not only that these companies in particular had become de facto monopolies, but that they were using their monopoly powers to discourage competition and violate antitrust laws. In fact, I wrote just last month about how Apple has been abusing its monopolistic power in the App Store for many years. Apple’s multiple roles as the provider of the operating system, curator, and gatekeeper of the only allowed app store on the billions of devices it has sold, not to mention creator of its own applications, is an excellent example of how today’s “digital monopolies” are both similar to and different from the industrial monopolies of a century ago. Starting in the late nineteenth century, industrialists like John D Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and others built companies that were innovative in the beginning, helping America in its rise to become the dominant economic superpower in the world. These companies became incredibly profitable precisely…Continue readingHere’s how the Big Tech breakup should go down


Facebook leak hints at its defense against a government-ordered breakup

Facebook has declined to comment on the apparent leak. In the past, it has pushed for extra regulation (albeit limited) in place of a breakup. There’s no certainty a defense like this would hold up. Columbia University professor and tech policy expert Tim Wu said that pointing to the FTC’s past approval would be “weak.” The regulator hadn’t considered the possibility that Facebook was buying Instagram and WhatsApp to squash competition, Wu said — it wasn’t going to rule out a breakup as circumstances changed. The difficulty of a breakup might not factor into the decision, either. Facebook might have to offer some kind of defense before long. The FTC is rumored to be readying an antitrust lawsuit by the end of 2020, and the House could release its antitrust investigation results later in October. Neither is likely to be particularly kind to Facebook, and a split-up could easily be on the table. Source linkContinue readingFacebook leak hints at its defense against a government-ordered breakup


We’ve entered the breakup phase of lockdown romances

It seemed like the perfect match.  Me, him, and a pandemic that forced us to spend four months getting to know each other.  In many ways it felt like an IRL version of Love Is Blind, the show where people get to know each other through opaque screens, often developing feelings before laying eyes on the object of their affection. I was spending lockdown at my parents’ house in Warwickshire, and he was in London. For a while, I felt like a 19th century woman passing love notes to an interested suitor. It had all been a refreshing break from the exhaustingly fast-paced culture of on-demand dating apps and the requests to meet up the very same day as matching with someone. Here, I had the luxury of truly getting to know someone without the pressure of meeting up lest they lose interest and swipe on to someone new.  After months of non-stop messaging, lockdown restrictions began to lift and we decided to finally meet in person. My nerves were a mess on the day of the date, I was so worried there’d be no spark. Those fears, it turns out, were justified. When we met, I didn’t feel that same connection we’d had over message. I felt silly that I had constructed an idea of a person in my mind that didn’t live up to reality. Perhaps I should have done a virtual date with him, but truthfully I felt too socially awkward and nervous to try that. But…Continue readingWe’ve entered the breakup phase of lockdown romances


Apple’s Intel Breakup Will Reshape Macs—and Beyond

As with all demos though, it’s important to keep several grains of salt handy, especially for Apple’s most demanding customers. “It’s going to be hard for me to imagine a smartphone-based microprocessor replacing a Mac Pro that you just bought for 10 grand,” says Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy. “I wish they would have shown some performance comparisons.” The A-Series chips in Apple’s iPhone and iPads do hold their own agains their lower-power Intel comparables. But it remains to be seen how quickly Cupertino’s silicon team can level up the chips’ capabilities even further. Based on the company’s transition timeline, the answer seems to be two years or less. There’s also a question of at what point certain apps, in particular those that aren’t actively maintained, simply stop working on ARM-based Macs. Apple called out that major players like Microsoft and Adobe are already hard at work on the transition, but it seems plausible that certain utilities may get left behind altogether. “I think there will be a culling process like we saw from 32 to 64 bit applications,” says Moorhead. There’s also the question of your existing Mac, and at what point the transition will force you to upgrade. Apple has promised to continue supporting and releasing macOS for Intel-based Macs “for years to come,” with no hard date yet. It’s worth noting, too, that Microsoft and Google have both tried similar convergences across Windows and Chrome, with limited success. Those potential hiccups seem well worth…Continue readingApple’s Intel Breakup Will Reshape Macs—and Beyond