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2020, the pivotal year for the tech giants


#Meetings on #Zoom, searches on #Google, purchases on #Amazon, exchanges on #Whatsapp and parties in front of #Netflix: already in a position of strength before the epidemic, the #American #Gafam (#Google, #Amazon, #Facebook, #Apple and #Microsoft) and the #Chinese #Batx (#Baidu , #Alibaba, #Tencent and #Xiaomi) have become ubiquitous during the year 2020.

“These” superstars “of platform capitalism” gave the feeling, in this world where so many things which seemed solid are today weakened, to be above ground and even invincible “, summarizes the economist #Joëlle #Toledano, professor at #Paris-Dauphine.

#Even more than economic – #Google is suffering from a slack in the advertising market, #Booking.com is suffering from the cessation of tourism, etc. – their triumph is financial. #While states spend trillions to avoid serial bankruptcies and mass unemployment, the stock market value of #Gafams continues to swell: they now weigh nearly $ 8 trillion on the stock market – more than three times the GDP from #France – up from just over 2,000 billion five years ago.

#Read also: GAFAM: a #Senegalese specialist offers “subcontracted intellectual work” to boost employment in #Africa

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#Since #January, their prices seem to be doped by the #Covid: + 35% for #Facebook, + 67% for #Amazon, + 68% for #Apple. #What about #Zoom, created in 2011 by a #Californian engineer, whose shares jumped 600% in 2020? #Airbnb whose share doubled in value on the day it was floated on the stock market? #For their part, long confined to the local market, #Chinese applications are beginning to spread throughout the world: #TikTok, of course, but also SHEIN (clothing) or #Likee (videos).

#Take back power in the face of #Gafa

#But the year 2020 also sounded the awakening of the #States, which want to put a brake on the frantic expansion, with hundreds of acquisitions, of these conglomerates of the new millennium.

“Until 2017, we considered that the benefits provided, especially in terms of innovation, were greater than the damage caused”, but the tide has turned, explains #Joëlle #Toledano, author of “Gafa: let’s take back power! “

#In addition to de facto controlling access to the digital world – the #Google search engine holds 93% of the market share – these monopolies lock their users into “locked ecosystems”, underlines the economist.

#Learning from the failures of the past – long and late procedures, fines with little dissuasive influence – #Brussels has put an ambitious set of new rules on the job, ranging from competition to the fight against online hatred through the transparency of algorithms.

The proceedings are also increasing in the #United #States against #Google and #Facebook for abuse of a dominant position. #Summoned to account, the bosses of the sector have been summoned several times before #Congress.

#Read also: #Tech stars leave #Silicon #Valley for political reasons

#In #China, the authorities have been tightening up the regulation of the content of various platforms for several months. They also announced new regulations for online commerce. #On #December 24, the administration announced an investigation targeting e-commerce champion #Alibaba for “suspicion of monopoly practices”.

#And the in extremis suspension of the IPO of the online payment giant #Ant #Group has been interpreted as a warning from the #Chinese government to a sector which has become extremely powerful, and which has generated considerable fortunes.

“#Surveillance capitalism”

The power of “Big #Tech” is also increasingly contested by civil society, without this anger having hitherto affected their economic performance, nor the enthusiasm of consumers or #Internet users.

“These are incredibly imaginative companies, extraordinarily well managed, and which offer a high quality of service”, judges #Jacques #Crémer, of the #Toulouse #School of #Economics, who warns against the temptation to turn them into “goats” emissaries ”.

#In #France, #Amazon crystallizes discontent, between a call for a boycott of elected officials and a demonstration against each new installation of its huge robotic warehouses. #This did not prevent the #French branch of #Jeff #Bezos’ company from achieving record sales for its “Black #Friday”.

#In the #United #States, #Facebook suffered in #July – there either without major economic damage – the boycott of a hundred brands which accused it of not doing enough against racist content, against a backdrop of “Black #Lives #Matter” mobilization. . #In #California, VTC platforms #Uber and #Lyft, which refuse to hire their thousands of drivers as required by state law, succeeded in convincing voters to support them, in a crucial referendum on #November 3 .

#Read also: #Prof. #Mary #Teuw NIANE’s lecture on digital issues

Their psychological hold is also singled out. #Star of the documentary broadcast on #Netflix “The social dilemma”, which accuses the #Gafa of leading adolescents to suicide and democracies to civil war, the #American economist #Shoshana #Zuboff thus denounces a “capitalism of surveillance” based on the monetization of personal data. #Hence the urgency to organize this “fourth space” where human activity is deployed, after land, sea and air, as described by #Internal #Market #Commissioner #Thierry #Breton.

#Eve #Szeftel, AFP

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https://www.socialnetlink.org/2020/12/31/2020-lannee-charniere-des-geants-de-la-tech/

#pivotal #year #tech #giants

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