big tech

a.k.a. the frightful five

Big tech refers to 5 major technology companies (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft), which display a large amount of growth in technology and thereby have inordinate influence.

It's important to note that big tech isn’t one big monopoly, but rather 5 companies all in different businesses. Many definitions of big tech include only the GAFA "big four" companies (listed above) but big tech also includes Microsoft. It should also be noted that Google's parent company is Alphabet, even though the acronym remains GAFA.

Historical perspective: The defining story of 2017 was that the tech giants, the world’s five most valuable public companies, are too big. Not only because they own the technology that will dominate much of life for the foreseeable future, they are also gaining vast social and political power over much of the world beyond tech. According to Farhad Manjoo at The New York Times, the backlash against tech’s "Frightful Five" hasn’t hurt their bottom lines a bit. In 2018, each of them reported earnings brimming with fantastic news for investors. Even after Facebook lost $120 billion in market value in one day, it was still the fifth-most valuable corporation in America. Big Tech has been hit with calls for antitrust investigations, accused of political bias, criticized for a lack of diversity, and bashed for feeding an unprecedented increase in income inequality. Company leaders have sounded contrite and remorseful, and have admitted moral responsibility as well as a commitment to rehabilitation. Yet all the while, they’ve expanded their foothold in our lives. If they face real competition, it’s mainly from one another. And thanks to growing sales of high-margin web services, including Amazon’s cloud-computing business, the Frightful Five are making money even more rapidly. All that cash gets reinvested in tech that will dominate the future, from artificial intelligence to voice services to self-driving cars. Get used to the Frightful Five. Their footprint on the culture is only growing, and they’re still finding a lot more new ways to make money. Despite the outcry, don’t expect their power to fade anytime soon.

In 2018, Kara Swisher in The New York Times reported on Big Tech's new chemical fix: Silicon Valley is getting high more and more for fun and profit. Microdoses of LSD are common; Adderall is used to plow through work, Ecstasy to relax; and smoking marijuana is now like drinking a glass of wine. Silicon Valley, though, tends to view drugs differently than Hollywood or Wall Street. The point is less to let off steam or lose your inhibitions than to improve your mind. You're trying to achieve a heightened sense of awareness while staying functional. Whatever can get to that place with not a lot of downside (or addiction) is preferred. It's a new experience for techies who spent their entire youth looking at a screen and it's not yet clear this story will end well.

See also : big brother  big data  big five  big room  GAFA  
NetLingo Classification: Online Business