A reader writes,
Here is an article that claims the reign of Big Tech is coming to a close because the huge amounts of data, that currently require huge server farms to process, will soon be replaced by inexpensive and more efficient software and hardware, that can fit on your dining room table (that seems like a wild exaggeration)!
I read this with a faint sense of hope that the monopolies of Google, Twitter, and Facebook could be broken up with inexpensive competition, but I find it hard to take the author's argument seriously. It seems to me that Big Tech has the all-important head-start, the brand recognition, highly sophisticated data bases in place, billions in capitalization, and many of the best personnel in their corner.
I could see some independents taking a serious run at Facebook and Twitter, but it seems to me that Google is in a class by itself. I can't see anyone threatening its domination short of a political move to break it up under anti-trust legislation such as the US government did to AT&T in 1984.
Since I am not well-educated in the field of information technology, I would be interested in your opinion.
I read the article, and found that the author fails to distinguish between software and people. Software can be easily replaced; people cannot be displaced so easily.
For instance, pundits have long proclaimed email is dead, but people keep using it, so the software survives. Only when people abandon software, like Second Life, does it die.
Entities like Facebook and Twitter are successful due to the network effect. This is a theory that says that the value of a network increased by the square as it doubles in size. Have twice as many people using a service (network) and it becomes 4x valuable to them.
The network consists of people connected to one other and resources. Early people-oriented computer networks like CompuServe and AOL failed when the Internet became accessible to regular folk, because the open Internet offered far larger network effect. Closed CompuServe and AOL could only a fraction as many connections to people and resources.
The good news is that there already are services that aim to replace Facebook/Twitter/Google; the bad news is that they are not all that popular due to the lack of sufficient connections. Nothing lasts for ever, so maybe one day Facebook will be the next CompuServe.
For what it is worth:
- I don't use Facebook
- I use Twitter to market my stuff; otherwise, I do not contribute directly
- I use Bing for search
- I turn off as many tracking settings as Google allows me to