Tech is dominated by ‘the big four’ Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Each has been under fire for irresponsibility and even exploitation. However, despite disagreeing with their practises, many feel they have no other choices when it comes to their services.
It raises a larger question about tech companies’ monopolies on areas of the market. How have we let competition vanish almost entirely, and what does it mean for us, the consumer?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for many, but highly profitable for a few. According to a report by an American tax fairness group, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ fortune grew by £27.6bn. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth also rose by £19.9bn. And most shockingly, those are just the figures for the period between 18 March and 19 May.
Many forget that ‘googling something’ just means searching for something on the internet. Because of their decades of domination many of us forget that there are other search engines out there!
Amazon has been under considerable criticism for tax evasion and it’s treatment of staff both before and during the pandemic. So it’s understandable if you aren’t too keen on contributing to Jeff Bezo’s huge fortune.
Facebook is losing advertisers by the day due to their permissive approach to fake news and harmful rumours. Even before this latest controversy they were under fire for allegations of tax evasion, illegal selling of user data, and even accusations of spying on users through their device microphones!
Apple are known for gruelling conditions for workers in their factories. Though the same could easily be said of most smartphone producers, including their largest rival Samsung. Many components of phones are also made of environmentally harmful chemicals or conflict materials.
Despite not being one of the ‘big four, Spotify deserves an honourable mention for the amount of backlash it receives. A recent movement among artists is encouraging people to consume music in a different way. Spotify gives a very low percentage of sales back to the recording artists or song owner. Spotify pays between $0.006 to $0.0084 per song play. For perspective one artist worked out their fee if you listened to their album on repeat for 24 hours. They would only net them around £4.50. And remember, this figure is then split between record labels, artists, producers and songwriters.