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Digital Themes

Bigtech

What is Big Tech?

Big Tech refers to the five major technology companies of influence. This group of tech giants includes Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

The big tech companies each dominate their respective category. Amazon commands the e-commerce sector, Facebook maintains dominance in the social media space, Google leads the search engine market, and Apple has control of communication hardware. These tech giants so heavily influence their respective fields due to their expert knowledge of the market's needs and their ability to deliver products accordingly that ensure customer satisfaction.

Big tech companies maintain market capitalization, operate in several verticals, and influence users across platforms. Each of the big tech companies is an epicenter for other online services and activities.

These tech giants also understand how to tap into new and emerging market segments. Facebook acquired both Instagram and WhatsApp, furthering their claim on social networking. While Amazon has a commanding dominance in both e-retail and streaming services, it has dramatically increased its physical presence with the acquisition of Whole Foods. Google is not limited to search engines, offering email services, video sharing, and other segments that they equally dominate. Google's acquisition of Nest is an example of their expansion into hardware, as well as the smart home solutions sector.

Big tech companies have completely transformed the way people use technology, creating a digital ecosystem, resulting in millions depending on these companies' services daily. This consequently leads to questions and concern over the ever-increasing level of influence these companies command. While many would claim that these companies are driving social change, others note their impact on market power and voice apprehension toward a tech monopoly.

Big tech companies have been involved in sizable antitrust scrutiny and privacy scandals in multiple nations. However, their growth continues relentlessly, offering free online services, increased smartphone functionality, and widely accessible e-commerce.

How Big Tech is influencing sectors outside of technology:

  • Economy - While these companies originated in the United States, their impact is felt on a global level. They are continually looking to acquire and expand, and with that comes a great deal of market power.

  • Society - Big Tech influences societal change by being accessible to the masses. The products of Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are so widely used that they can impact the way consumers do any number of daily functions. Alternately, Facebook and Google provide a myriad of free services to their consumers. This creates a level of influence for them while promoting digital advertising to a massive audience.

  • Politics - Because these big tech companies' services are so widely used across various platforms, the access to like minds, voter bases, and financial supporters is unparalleled.

  • Censorship - Free speech and censorship are equally disputed in discussions of big tech. In a virtual public space, claiming to be limiting hate speech or preventing potential real-world danger, big tech currently has the ability to limit what people see, which some view as effectively censoring free speech.

  • National Security - Those advocating for breaking up big tech claim that these companies pose a threat to democracy and ultimately national security. Several big tech companies have large operations in competing economies, and AI and cloud-based solutions housed in foreign countries potentially allow for competing government influence

  • Law Enforcement - Big tech companies offer surveillance solutions and data analysis technology used by many law enforcement departments.
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