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Category Archives: Big Tech

Josh Hawley Was The Democrats’ Partner In Trying To Regulate Big Tech; Then The Public Realized He Was A Fascist – Techdirt

Posted: January 14, 2022 at 8:39 pm

from the there-goes-that-plan dept

Karl recently wrote about how Congress' antitrust efforts are flailing (even with the plan to hold a hearing on Senators Klobuchar & Grassley's antitrust bill) and one reason why the efforts have stumbled may be Senator Josh Hawley's decision to really show off his fascist side.

We've been pointing out the serious problems with Hawley and his policy ideas since long before January 6th of 2021. Even though it was fairly clear from early on that his hypocritical posturing and populism were little more than a cynical attempt to get the Trumpian base to back his massive ego and ambition for a potential Presidential run, a bunch of Democrats were happy to cynically embrace Hawley because he was "anti-big tech" and willing to hate all the same people that some Democratic Senators hated as well. Of course, January 6th and Hawley's now infamous raised fist appear to have resulted in Democrats realizing that even if he hates Mark Zuckerberg too, that doesn't mean he's worth working with.

Now the Washington Post has noted that since January 6th, Democrats suddenly were no longer willing to partner with Hawley on bills that regulate "big tech," which is a bit of a problem, since he was their Republican co-sponsor on a variety of "bipartisan" legislation.

By this time last Congress in January 2020, Hawley had partnered with Democrats to lead at least eight letters on tech issues, including with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), then the Senate minority whip, according to a review by The Technology 202. The topics spanned from data privacy to kids online safety to potential risks posed by tech firms with links to China.

But a year into this Congress, during which his top issues have only gained prominence, Hawley hasnt led any bipartisan letters on tech policy issues that his office has publicly released, according to a review. All of the new tech bills hes introduced this past year have been either a solo or Republican-only effort. And of those four bills he co-led early last Congress, only one has been reintroduced without him on it.

The article claims that this means that Hawley's "once-glowing prominence in the debate has faded," though I question that premise. He's still out there bashing tech in stupid, nonsensical ways. He's just doing it on Fox News and to an increasingly ignorant base who still thinks that he can magically ignore the 1st Amendment and force Twitter to allow idiots to spew nonsense. The fact that he can't actually advance any legislation is kind of meaningless here. Possibly (and this is good) it slows some of the legislation down, but Hawley has never been interested in actually passing legislation in the first place. It was always about getting his name in lights among the right people. And he got his headlines from Democrats who were willing to look the other way on Hawley's populist/fascist tendencies when it was politically convenient for them. And now Hawley doesn't need them any more to get the kind of headlines he needs.

The real thing for me is looking at just how cynical Democrats were to join up with Hawley on this prior to last January 6th. It was no secret -- certainly not in and around the Senate -- about Hawley's populist/fascist views, and his willingness to stomp all over principles or rights to feed his ambition. But they were willing to do so because it helped them out. It's good that they're apparently no longer willing to team up with Hawley to give him any kind of legislative "win" on this topic, but it remains ridiculous that they were ever willing to do so in the past -- back before Hawley was so commonly and publicly associated with the insurrection.

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Filed Under: antitrust, big tech, bipartisanship, josh hawley

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Donald Morrison: Is Congress ready for the war against Big Tech and big money like Facebook and Google? – Berkshire Eagle

Posted: at 8:39 pm

To train for their famous 1969 mission to the moon, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins spent time in the lunarlike deserts of the American West.

One day, they ran into an elderly Native American man. He recognized them from TV and asked them for a favor.

My tribe believes sacred spirits live on the moon, he said. Could you give them a message for us?

The astronauts agreed. So, the man had them memorize a phrase in his native language. When they asked him what it meant, he demurred: Its a secret between our tribe and the moon spirits.

What happened next was one of the most poignant skirmishes in the age-old war between past and future, natives and colonizers, tradition and technology. That conflict is a bit like the one were currently waging with the large tech companies.

You know: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, Twitter and so on.

We let them into our lives, which they promised to make better. They did, sort of. But, they also stole our privacy, poisoned our politics, wasted our time, degraded our human interactions and messed with the minds of our children. Meanwhile, these electronic pirates have made fortunes off our personal information and their skill in addicting us to their products and services.

In a rare show of bipartisan comity, our elected and appointed leaders seem to be awakening to the problem. Congress has held hours of hearings and introduced dozens of bills over the past year to protect us from these invaders. The measures would strengthen privacy protections and strip social media companies of their protection from legal liability for the harm they cause.

That latter privilege was accorded them by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The loophole allows websites to be treated as common carriers, like a phone company routing calls obliviously, instead of as self-interested gatekeepers crafting algorithms to determine who sees what online and selling microscopically targeted advertising to accompany that content.

To protect young people from such intrusive behavior, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey has introduced an update of the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act, which he helped craft in 1998. The new version would spare kids from targeted advertising, stiffen security standards on electronic devices marketed to them and include an eraser button to eliminate kids personal info at will.

Another tool for taming Big Tech is antitrust law. The House Judiciary Committee has finished work on six bills that would help prevent tech companies from using their monopoly power to maximize profits and smother competition.

The courts have become the latest antitrust battleground. A federal judge this week allowed a Federal Trade Commission suit against Facebook to move forward. The FTC alleges that the company, which controls 70 percent of the daily social media market (98 percent among desktop users), has maintained its position by buying up potential competitors. Google, which has more than 80 percent of the market for internet search and 90 percent for Android app sales, is facing three antitrust suits over its treatment of competitors.

Encouraging as those efforts may be, chances of success are slim. The tech industry now accounts for more than one-third of the total U.S. economy. Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google alone are worth more than $7 trillion, bigger than the gross domestic product of any country in the world, except the U.S and China.

That kind of money buys a lot of lawyers, lobbyists and, alas, politicians. Tech executives are among the biggest contributors to political campaigns, and getting bigger. Not surprisingly, hardly any of the bills introduced in Congress are expected to be debated, let alone passed. Even the FTC suits are considered by many legal experts to be long shots, partly because of the plaintiffs impressive array of top-drawer lawyers.

This mismatch in firepower reminds us of what happened to Native Americans when the white man first arrived on this continent, with his superior wealth and technology. The locals never had a chance.

The old geezer who confronted Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins in the desert clearly knew his history.

When the astronauts returned to their base that day, they searched for an expert who understood the mans language. They finally found one and repeated the words theyd memorized. The translator burst out laughing. Then he told them the meaning of that message:

Dont believe a single word these white men tell you. Theyve come to steal your land.

Donald Morrison is an Eagle columnist and co-chairman of the advisory board. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.

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Tech giants play the blame game – Axios

Posted: at 8:39 pm

With regulators around the world looking at reining in Big Tech, the companies in the crosshairs are increasingly eager to point out their rivals' sins.

Why it matters: Investigations in the U.S. and around the world are targeting Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon. To make their case, regulators need to show the companies are squelching competition a task the tech companies may be aiding with their infighting.

Driving the news: An increasing part of each company's game plan seems to be to try to shift the spotlight and hope that regulators will put their limited time and resources against some other target.

Yes, but: All the finger-pointing to protect individual companies' interests could just further blemish the entire industry in the court of public opinion.

Between the lines: Industries that face a concerted threat from Washington often band together and send their trade groups into the fray to represent them as a united front.

The big picture: The government's campaign to limit Big Tech's power faces a big challenge in going after many targets at once, each of which has a different approach and grip on the market.

Meanwhile, the tech giants are collectively frustrated at legislative proposals that take aim at them but exclude both foreign tech companies and other corporate giants, such as Walmart.

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EU closes in on regulating big tech with Digital Markets Act – TechTarget

Posted: at 8:39 pm

The European Commission is moving fast on legislation that would change how tech giants operate in the digital marketplace.

The proposed Digital Markets Act (DMA), introduced in 2020, specifically targets the practices of "gatekeeper online platforms." Governments, including the U.S., use the term gatekeepers to describe the power that companies like Apple, Google and Amazon have over third parties that use their platforms. The Digital Markets Act was introduced alongside the Digital Services Act (DSA), complementary legislation that aims to protect users online by providing transparency into how content algorithms work.

The DMA removes the ability of tech giants to enact a preference toward their products and keep users from connecting to third parties outside their platforms. The DMA would also allow users to remove any preinstalled apps on their phones.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, will likely pass the DMA and DSA sometime before July, according to Cdric O, France's minister for digital and telecommunications. If passed this year, the legislation will be implemented in 2023 and will be applied across the EU.

"The DMA is about updating our conventional antitrust rules in order to adapt to the digital world, and the DSA is about content moderation," O said during a webinar presented by the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. "Within 18 months, Europe would have been able to propose, negotiate and adopt two of the most important texts in the history of the internet."

The DMA still needs significant work for it to be effective legislation, said Marshall Van Alstyne, professor of information systems at Boston University's Questrom School of Business.

The goals of the DMA -- to create fairness and competition -- are good ones, Van Alstyne said. However, he said the DMA is missing one essential goal: to create value.

Van Alstyne said the premise behind the DMA is the belief that market concentration is too high, making the markets less competitive, and too much of the wealth is being appropriated by large firms and not shared equitably across users and smaller firms in the digital ecosystem.

By making value the goal, "you might actually get better policy," he said.

One of the DMA policies that prevents value creation is the inability to combine data sources without explicit user opt-in, which makes it harder to create network effects. Network effects is the concept that a product or service's value increases as the number of people using that product or service increases.

One example is COVID-19 tracing, he said. "You can't really do effective COVID tracing if everyone has to explicitly go opt-in. You can't create good networks in that context."

Another is the DMA's proposed restricting of tech giants' abilities to make acquisitions. According to the DMA proposal, online platforms identified as gatekeepers would be required to report intended mergers or acquisitions to the European Commission.

While some mergers or acquisitions are problematic and should be stopped or challenged, Van Alstyne said not all mergers are bad. Indeed, large companies acquiring smaller firms can set those larger firms up to be competitors to other large firms, he said.

If you simply stop at 'the big platforms can't do this,' that's a problem. Marshall Van AlstyneProfessor, Boston University

"If you simply stop at 'the big platforms can't do this,' that's a problem," he said.

The DMA is specific on what activities big tech companies can and can't engage in, which may create issues down the road as the tech environment changes since it's not as adaptable, he said.

Van Alstyne said one of the first areas the DMA gets right is elimination of most-favored nation clauses.

Oftentimes, when large platforms contract with third parties to let them sell on their platforms, the contract terms stipulate that the third parties must offer their products at prices as good as or better than other platforms with which the third parties may do business.

Van Alsytne said that makes it hard for third parties operating on the platform to offer better prices even on their own websites.

"It makes it very hard for them to do better, and it makes the platform monopolistic," he said.

Other valuable pieces of the DMA include potentially including a concept called in situ data rights. In situ data rights gives users the power to keep their data in one location, such as Facebook, and determine what third-party companies can access that data.

Van Alstyne said providing users with in situ data rights addresses issues created by legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation, which entrenched data with companies like Facebook and Google under privacy protections.

"Startups could access the data without having to remove it from its original location, they could just get API permission and start to access large quantities of it in location," he said. "So you should be able to combine more data sets with users' permission to create more value, to create more of the network effects."

Makenzie Holland is a news writer covering big tech and federal regulation. Prior to joining TechTarget, she was a general reporter for the Wilmington StarNews and a crime and education reporter at the Wabash Plain Dealer.

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Executive migration from big tech to startup picks up pace – Business Chief

Posted: at 8:39 pm

It is certainly big news when an executive leaves a big tech firm. Even bigger news when said firm happens to be the worlds biggest EV automaker with a trillion-dollar valuation, and its leader is not just the richest person on the planet, but the richest person in history.

Enter Tesla, whose head of HR, Valerie Capers Workman, has just announced she is leaving the automaker after five years. An attorney and impact leader, who worked closely with CEO Elon Musk in her role as VP of people, Workman was also a passionate diversity advocate. And as the highest-ranking black executive at Tesla, she was vocal in defending Teslas support for minorities following a number of lawsuits that exposed alleged racial abuse.

Workman is leaving Tesla to become chief legal officer of career placement startup Handshake.

This move, from the worlds top EV maker valued at US$1.036 trillion and with 70,000-plus employees, to a startup valued at US$1.5bn with just 200 employees, is reflective of a human capital movement some call it the Great Resignation that is seeing execs swapping their big tech company roles for those in much smaller tech startups.

The poster child of the movement, Jack Dorsey, famously left his position as Twitters chief executive last year to dedicate himself to his crypto startup Square, now renamed Block. But, throughout the pandemic, through 2020 and 2021, there has been an acceleration of movement from big to small tech, as executives reevaluate their lives and purpose.

In 2020, Dhivya Suryadevara left GM, where she had spent nearly 15 years, including two as CFO, to become finance chief at startup Stripe; while 16-year Google veteran Shanna Preve gave up her role leading product partnerships to becomeVP of enterprise sales and business development atfood-delivery startup DoorDash.

In 2021, this migration picked up pace. Instacart recruited four executives from public tech companies, including two from Facebook Asha Sharma, a Facebook VP, to be its COO; and Max Eulenstein, a director from Instagram, to be VP of product for the Instacart App.

And there's more. Googles former VP joined Coinbase as chief product officer; Facebooks VP of engineering Raymond Endres moved to Airtable as CTO; and Disneys top streaming executive Kevin Mayer took a leap of faith, becoming CEO of TikTok, a leap that sadly didnt work out.

Last year, ecommerce giant Amazon saw an exodus of executives leaving for startups: six departed for Nestle startup subsidiary Freshly, including the former innovation chief and chief commercialisation officer; while Amazons previous head of fulfilment operations, Jenna Owens, swapped her role for that of COO at Gamestop; and Rodrigo Brumana resigned as Amazons CFO of private-label business to join online fashion marketplace Poshmark Inc. as its new CFO.

And this exodus from Amazon has continued into 2022. Former head of marketing for Amazon Subscription Boxes, Rene Villegas, recently moved to wireless broadband startup Starry to be CMO; 12-year Amazon veteran John Curran has swapped his role as CFO for Amazons international consumer division for a chief finance role at food startup CloudKitchens; and Craig German, a 14-year executive veteran of Amazon has jumped ship to ecommerce startup Fabric, where he is now the firms first SVP of corporate marketing.

The list is almost exhaustive, especiallyconsidering we are only two weeks into 2022. So, what's going on? And why now? While just a few years ago, an executive role at Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Meta was highly coveted, since the onset of the pandemic, and the subsequent acceleration of tech startups and huge valuations, more and more execs are leaving the big-tech giants to pursue roles in exciting new startups.

Pandemic burnout and reevaluation and a backlash against tech companies that have grown all-powerful are among reasons cited. And then there's the fact that startups offeremployees the chance for execs to really make a splash, with many execs feeling they can have more impact and influence on a startups journey than within a huge firm. Not to mention a chance to cash in on the potential riches of startups and public companies, which are booming right now.

Here, we highlight some of the key movements from big firms to startup that have kicked-off 2022.

Former Meta and Microsoft executive Karandeep Anand has joined fintech startup Brex, as the market disruptor raises US$300m in a Series D-2 round. Joining from Meta where he led the tech giants business products group, serving more than 200 million businesses globally, Anand also spent 15 years at Microsoft, where he led the product management strategy for Microsoft's Azure cloud and developer platform efforts. Bringing extensive product leadership experience to the Brex table, Anand understands the Brex customer and knows how to build and scale business products with consumer-grade ease to meet the needs of fast-growing companies, says co-CEO Henrique Dubugras.

Big tech executive Jenny Arden joins Zillow Group as the Seattle-based real estate firms first chief design officer. An Ivy League graduate, Arden has had a 20-year career leading creative and design teams at Nike, Lyft and Airbnb. Most recently spending 16 months as VP of digital design at Nike, she also led teams at Lyft and Airbnb, and was a lead designer at Google. She has also worked in design at Dell, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. Described by Zillow Group COO Jerremy Waksman as having an impressive track record of building and designing transformative customer-facing products that provide intuitive and connected experiences, Arden will oversee the companys product design and user experience research and help to build Zillow 2.0.

Microsoft veteran Harvinder Bhela is leaving tech giant Microsoft to join hybrid cloud service startup NetApp in its newly created role of chief product officer. With 25 years at Microsoft, where he held multiple executive leadership positions, Bhela most recently served as corporate VP of the Microsoft 365 security, compliance and management business, which he grew to more than US$10bn in annual revenue, making Microsoft the largest security company in the world. Bhela is tasked with accelerating the startups transformation into a multi-cloud, storage and data services leader.

12-year Amazon veteran John Curran is swapping his role as chief financial executive for Amazons international consumer division for a CFO role at food startup CloudKitchens. This comes as the takeaway kitchen startup owned by former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, triples its valuation to US$15bn following a capital raise of US$850m last November.

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The Humanities Can’t Save Big Tech From Itself – WIRED

Posted: at 8:39 pm

The problem with tech, many declare, is its quantitative inclination, its hard math deployed in the softer human world. Tech is Mark Zuckerberg: all turning pretty girls into numbers and raving about the social wonders of the metaverse while so awkward in every human interaction that he is instantly memed. The human world contains Zuck, but it is also everything he fails at so spectacularly. That failure, the lack of social and ethical chops, is one many believe he shares with the industry with which he is so associated.

And so, because Big Tech is failing at understanding humans, we often hear that its workforce simply needs to employ more people who do understand. Headlines like Liberal arts majors are the future of the tech industry and Why computer science needs the humanities have been a recurring feature of tech and business articles over the past few years. It has been suggested that social workers and librarians might help the tech industry curb social medias harm to Black youth and proliferation of disinformation, respectively. Many anthropologists, sociologists, and philosophersespecially those with advanced degrees who are feeling the financial squeeze of academias favoring of STEMare rushing to demonstrate their utility to tech behemoths whose starting salaries would make the average humanities professor blush.

Ive been studying nontechnical workers in the tech and media industries for the past several years. Arguments to bring in sociocultural experts elide the truth that these roles and workers already exist in the tech industry and, in varied ways, always have. For example, many current UX researchers have advanced degrees in sociology, anthropology, and library and information sciences. And teachers and EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) experts often occupy roles in tech HR departments.

Recently, however, the tech industry is exploring where nontechnical expertise might counter some of the social problems associated with their products. Increasingly, tech companies look to law and philosophy professors to help them through the legal and moral intricacies of platform governance, to activists and critical scholars to help protect marginalized users, and to other specialists to assist with platform challenges like algorithmic oppression, disinformation, community management, user wellness, and digital activism and revolutions. These data-driven industries are trying hard to augment their technical know-how and troves of data with social, cultural, and ethical expertise, or what I often refer to as soft data.

But you can add all of the soft data workers you want and little will change unless the industry values that kind of data and expertise. In fact, many academics, policy wonks, and other sociocultural experts in the AI and tech ethics space are noticing a disturbing trend of tech companies seeking their expertise and then disregarding it in favor of more technical work and workers.

There have been times I was surrounded by more diversity in tech industry spaces than in the academic spaces from which the primary critiques of Big Tech derive.

Such experiences particularly make clear this fraught moment in the burgeoning field of AI ethics, in which the tech industry may be claiming to incorporate nontechnical roles while actually adding ethical and sociocultural framings to job titles that are ultimately meant to be held by the same old technologists. More importantly, in our affection for these often underappreciated soft professions, we must not ignore their limitations when it comes to achieving the lofty goals set out for them.

While it is important to champion the critical work performed by these underappreciated and under-resourced professions, there is no reason to believe their members are inherently more equipped to be the arbiters of whats ethical. These individuals have very real and important social and cultural expertise, but their fields are all reckoning with their own structural dilemmas and areas of weakness.

Take anthropology, a discipline that emerged as part and parcel of the Western colonial project. Though cultural anthropology now often espouses social justice aims, there are no guarantees that an anthropologist (85% of whom are white in the US) would orient or deploy algorithms in a less biased way than, say, a computer scientist. Perhaps the most infamous example is PredPol, the multimillion-dollar predictive policing company that Ruha Benjamin called part of The New Jim Code. PredPol was created by Jeff Brantingham, an Anthropology professor at UCLA.

Other academic communities championed by those pushing for soft data are similarly conflicted. Sociologys early surveillance and quantification of Black populations played a role in todays surveillance technologies that overwhelmingly monitor Black communities. My own research area, critical internet studies, skews very white and has failed to center concerns around race and racism. Indeed, I am often one of only a handful of Black and brown researchers in attendance at our fields conferences. There have been times I was surrounded by more diversity in tech industry spaces than in the academic spaces from which the primary critiques of Big Tech derive.

Social workers would likely add some much-needed diversity to tech. Social work is overwhelmingly performed by women and is a pretty diverse profession: over 22% Black and 14% Hispanic/Latinx. However, social workers are also implicated in state violence toward marginalized communities. For example, a social worker coauthored a controversial paper with Brantingham extending his predictive policing work to automated gang classification.

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Chipmakers are set to be ‘winners’ as the metaverse takes off – CNBC

Posted: at 8:39 pm

Baidu's metaverse concept on XiRang starts with a "Creator City" with a tall skyscraper at its center, according to this visualization shared with reporters on Dec. 21, 2021.

Baidu

The metaverse, which requires a massive amount of computing power, is set to benefit global chipmakers but other tech-related industries could also gain from it, analysts say.

Widely seen as the next generation of the internet, the metaverse refers broadly to a virtual world where humans interact through three-dimensional avatars that can be controlled via virtual reality headsets like Oculus.

Through the metaverse, users can engage in virtual activities such as gaming, virtual concerts or live sports.

The metaverse drew much attention last year, when social networking giant Facebook announced it was changing its name to Meta in October.

Big tech firms will benefit as the technologies related to that virtual world emerge, analysts said.

"The metaverse winners are really the technology companies," DBS Bank's Chief Investment Officer Hou Wey Fook told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Monday. Semiconductor firms would be a clear beneficiary as the metaverse will need a lot of computing power, he said.

However, the benefits to chipmakers will be "uneven," Morningstar said in a report last week.

"Since many of the tasks that take place in a 'metaverse' involve real-time processing of immense amount of data, this will require the chips involved to use advanced process nodes that are only available at TSMC, Samsung and Intel," it said.

Other main areas set to support the metaverse infrastructure that investors could consider would be firms that are supplying the "key building blocks," such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and video games graphics, said private banking firm Lombard Odier in a December report.

In such cashless, virtual environments, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies may also play a key role. Blockchain supporting non-fungible tokens, or NFTs digital tokens that represent proof of ownership of assets such as art,collectiblesormemes could create an "interesting" ecosystem for digital content creation and monetization, the bank said.

"These could confer the right to use artworks or own creatures created in the metaverse, opening the door to a new virtual economy. In this realm, human creativity has virtually no limits," the firm said.

Facebook parentMeta, as well asApple,MicrosoftandGoogleare gearing up to release new hardware products and software servicesfor the metaverse.

In Asia, China is set to go big on the metaverse as well. Its biggest city, Shanghai, included the metaverse in its five-year development plan. The plan called for "encouraging the application of the metaverse in areas such as public services, business offices, social entertainment, industrial manufacturing, production safety and electronic games."

CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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Amazon falls to lowest since May as Big Tech weakness continues – BetaBoston

Posted: at 8:39 pm

Shares of technology and internet stocks fell on Monday, extending recent declines as investors continued to monitor a rise in Treasury yields.

Losses were widespread across the group, with megacap names, semiconductor stocks and the software sector all tumbling. The group led broad declines in the U.S. equity market, and the Nasdaq 100 Index fell more than 2 percent.

The drop came as the yield on 10-Year U.S. Treasury notes rose to 1.8 percent, the highest in almost two years. Higher rates are seen as a challenge for high-growth and relatively expensive stocks as they reduce the present value of future earnings.

Among the notable movers, Amazon.com Inc. fell 3.4 percent to trade at its lowest intraday since May. The stock has dropped about 15 percent from a November peak and is down for a fifth straight session.

Bank of America affirmed a buy rating and $4,450 price target on the stock, writing that it expects 2022 will end better than it starts. The firm has Amazon as its top megacap pick, and it expects various headwinds -- including supply chain and labor issues, decelerating e-commerce growth, and multiple compression -- will ease throughout the year.

Google parent Alphabet Inc. fell 2.8 percent and is also down a fifth day, its longest such streak since November 2019. The stock has lost about 8 percent over the five-day drop and it is trading at its lowest since October.

Among other names, Microsoft Corp fell 2.7 percent to its lowest since October. Both Microsoft and Alphabet are coming off their biggest one-week percentage drops since March 2020. Also on Monday, Apple Inc. declined 2.1 percent and Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. dropped 4.5 percent. Tesla Inc. fell 2.8 percent.

The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index dropped 2.4 percent. Among notable names, Nvidia Corp. dropped 5.4 percent, Advanced Micro Devices lost 3.4 percent, Marvell shed 5.1 percent, and Micron Technology dropped 2.8 percent.

Jordan Klein, a managing director at Mizuho Securities, noted that the weakness in chipmakers is following a similar slump in software names.

Could this be a sign of a much broader rotation out of tech altogether, with exposure to the best performing group in Tech during 21 now being reduced? he writes in a note. Semis, he added, carry a high relative risk if this becomes a general rotation out of tech overall where low relative valuation does not help.

The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector exchange-traded fund fell 3.2 percent on Monday. The ETF is down more than 20 percent from a November peak, touching its lowest since June.

Given the scale of the software weakness, some analysts are starting to see bargains in the group. Earlier, William Blair wrote that the rotation out of software will be short-lived as the sector continues to benefit from strong secular growth trends. Analyst Bhavan Suri is confident the software industry will exhibit durable growth and that overall business fundamentals remain intact.

2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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Opinion/Minow and Hadjipanteli: Congress must stop Big Tech’s threat to the press – The Providence Journal

Posted: at 8:39 pm

Martha Minow and Aris Hadjipanteli| Guest columnists

Martha Minow is 300thAnniversary University Professor at Harvard University and former dean of Harvard Law School.Aris Hadjipanteli is a second-year law student.

Democrats and Republicans agree on almost nothing, not even what to call the incident a year ago at the Capitol. Was it an insurrection or a protest? But they do agree that the technology business is failing both its users and to the media industry from which it pulls so much of its content without paying for it. Its time for Congress to turn this rare consensus into action by passing the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act(JCPA) to tackle some of the consequences of techs monopoly power.

As of 2018, Google and Facebook together had nearly four times as much revenue as the entirety of the U.S. news media (TV, print, and digital). They have only grown tremendously since then. When Google users read a news story, 65 percent do not click through to the news publishers websites. Google thus disconnects news content from its sources and leaves the journalists without compensation.

For publishers to continue investing in journalism, they need fair payment in return for the significantvalue that their content provides Google and Facebook. The demand for their content remains high news organizations reach more than 135 million U.S. adults each week yet revenue produced by U.S. news publications has dropped by more than 50 percent in recent years. Readers continue to be interested in news, but the money is going to digital platforms that dont produce it.

Is it any wonder that the U.S. is now witnessing a mass exodus of journalists? Newsrooms have lost 26 percent of their positions since 2008.Local news outlets have especially suffered. During the past 15 years, more than 1,800 local newspapers have closed.Again, thats not a function of consumer sentiment. The public trusts its local newspapers more than national ones: 73 percent of U.S adults surveyed said they have confidence in their local newspaper, compared to 55 percent for national network news. Surveys show that most Americans are unaware of this crisis in local journalism.

Facebook and Google have not just used their outsized role in mediating news consumption to squeeze out newspapers. They have also altered the media landscape. To propel their own goals of addicting users, they devalue high-quality journalism in favor of provocative content and click bait that capture attention by exploiting human frailties. Facebook, according to inside and outside reports, propels untrustworthy sources and misinformation.

Rep. David Cicilline, the Rhode Island Democrat who chairs the antitrust subcommittee in the House, designed the bipartisan JCPA to give publishers new tools to right the balance in the media marketplace while also ensuring government stays away from selecting or censoring content. The bill would dramatically improve journalism companies ability to negotiate fair compensation with Big Tech: It provides a narrow safe harbor from antitrust liability that would let news publishers collectively organize and negotiate with big tech companies for fair compensation for the use of their content.

The law would guard against leaving out any news provider, regardless of size and regardless of viewpoint. And the law would ensure the big platform companies behave responsibly and bargain in good faith in part by prohibiting them from buying off individual publications at the expense of the larger group and in part through enforcing fair market value for the bargain. Equally important, the bill would ensure fair distribution of the resulting payments to small and medium sized papers.

The U.S. Constitution mentions only one private industry by name and does so to provide it explicit constitutional protection. That one industry is the press, so central to informing the electorate and allowing all residents to gain information needed for their health and welfare. The Constitution also authorizes Congress to act to advance the general welfare.

Big Tech threatens the general welfare by eviscerating the press. At this point, the power and responsibility fall both to Congress and to its bosses we, the people. Lets hope that 2022 sees action to protect the press, fair competition, and democracy.

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Opinion/Minow and Hadjipanteli: Congress must stop Big Tech's threat to the press - The Providence Journal

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15 Years Ago, the iPhone Created ‘Big Tech’ – PCMag

Posted: at 8:39 pm

Fifteen years ago, on Jan. 9, 2007, I sat on the floor of a Las Vegas Convention Center entryway and pondered the iPhone. While I was running around the Consumer Electronics Show looking at the latest LG Chocolate, Steve Jobs was over at Macworld changing the world.

I'd been covering smartphones for three years by then, and they were complex gadgets for road warriors. Apple simplified the smartphone and made it a must-have for everyone.

This wasn't solely about Steve Jobs' brilliance. He struck when several other technologies were becoming available3G for the mobile web and capacitive touch screens for finger-friendly interfaces. And he worked without the legacy-software hangovers that Microsoft, Nokia, and Palm all struggled through from the first generation of proto-smartphones.

The iPhone has made a huge number of things easy, which were previously the province of techies. Mobile social networking and image sharing apps, the great 4G applications, generally came to the iPhone first throughout the early '10s, transforming how we use our devices, interact with our friends, and see our world.

But with that has come a stifling feeling of control. Two companies, Apple and Google, now control pretty much all the mobile platforms in the US; two manufacturers, Apple and Samsung, sell the vast majority of phones. Three platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, manage much of our discourse.

There are a bunch of things I didn't get right in my early iPhone analysis because I was looking at the phone that was, not at the future. (Also, Steve Jobs tended to lie.) Apple's AT&T exclusive, especially, distorted the market in ways that made the phone look less dominant and less revolutionary than it was. When I reviewed the first iPhone, I think I properly understood the importance of the new interface, but I got stuck on its lousy phone-calling quality and how it didn't support many desktop Web standards. Apple eventually fixed the phone calls, and in the battle between Apple and Flash Web sites, Apple won.

It's no coincidence that Apple's AT&T exclusive years, 2007-2011, saw a tremendous flourishing of competing consumer smartphone ideas: Palm WebOS, BlackBerry 10, and Windows Phone all rose during the time when the iPhone was influential, but boxed-in. Releasing the iPhone into the wild demanded a single competitor as bold and focused as Apple, and so now here we are in our duopoly.

It's a long way from the joyous if confusing welter of options in 2007, and I think the iPhone's ease and power have a lot to do with this.

In a lot of ways, that iPhone release helped herald in our current era of "Big Tech," where a few huge platform companies control so much of our software and services. Lots of other factors made it happen, to be sure, but Apple did a few key things to push our tech world into its current centralized state.

Back before the iPhone, carriers dictated a lot of the software preloaded on phones. A lot of that software sucked! But there were also a lot of carriers, which meant a lot of diversity and decentralization.

From 2007, I can think of AT&T, Cingular, T-Mobile, Verizon; Sprint and Nextel with the same ownership but different networks; MetroPCS and Cricket, both then independent companies; US Cellular, Alltel, and Dobson Cellular One. That whole list except the Big Three is now gone.

Apple broke the carrier control over softwarein consumer's favor!by loading its own Google and Yahoo! relationships onto that first phone. Big Tech now dealt with Big Tech. And as the iPhone's influence spread, especially after it became available on all US carriers in 2011, Apple's sole power to make those deals grew.

The next step came with the iPhone 3G, which introduced the App Store. Before the App Store, people bought their (relatively few) apps either from several independent stores, like Handmark, or from their carriers. In 2007, there were many more US wireless carriers than today, which meant much less centralized control there, too.

Now, if you buy apps in the US, it's almost always from one of two places: Apple or Google. Other stores exist for the Android platform, but they're little used in the US except on Amazon's proprietary tablets.

I once read, somewhere, that humans' favorite form of government is a benevolent dictatorship. The problem is, those are hard to find because power corrupts. Apple's mostly benevolent dictatorship has been great for a lot of little guys over the years.

Having a single, clean API and a single store let software developers focus on making money, and it made apps easy to discover. Having a single interface shared by tens of millions of people let network effects spread the smartphone gospel, as people could share tips, tricks, and help with their friends and family.

Of course, dissidents don't fare well under even benevolent dictatorships. Folks who wanted features or customization that Apple wasn't on board with were largely cut out.

We're very much now living in a world the iPhone madea world of user-friendly, strictly controlled platforms in the grip of a small number of private companies.

And honestly, I don't see how that changes. The current froth over "Web3" and distributed organizations misses what made the iPhone great: simplicity and ease. Given a complex, difficult system like the new blockchain-based systems versus Apple's simple user interfaces, policies, and guidance, consumers will almost certainly pick ease of use.

When the first iPhone came out, I saw it as a revolution. Revolutions, history tells us, often resolve into monarchies. Will the wheel turn again?

Be sure to check outMy Reporting Notes From the Original iPhone Launch 15 Years Ago andThe Top 5 iPhones of All Time.

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15 Years Ago, the iPhone Created 'Big Tech' - PCMag

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