The March against Big Tech
EPIC vs. Apple, German travel industry vs. Google, newspaper vs. Google
The list of fights seems endless currently. It even feels like it is now or never, and it is. There has never been more hype around the topic of breaking up big tech or regulating them.
Many of those fights have in common, a business model that has yet to show its worth from newspapers still struggling to become digital. German startups were complaining about big tech, while direct competitors were doing fine.
I can't blame them. Short term, it looks like when you reduce the grip big tech has on many business models, everyone will win. But the reality is much more complicated.
The main issue is the potential outcome. Do you remember GDPR? It was trying to regulate something and ended up being a massive disadvantage for everyone.
Did the Google Shopping case bring anything positive? Google Ads is still the dominating force in Shopping, and nothing has changed.
Regulation is hard. Doing it wrong can even play to the advantage of those you try to regulate. Much like GDPR! Doing it right requires a lot of effort. Especially because make no doubt, neither side is fighting for others. Meaning you can't trust them to offer you reasonable solutions!
What I find disturbing in this discussion is also how double-edged everyone is. On one side, we blame big tech for not allowing innovation and monopolistic behavior, but on the other side, we discuss how Google search is declining. Or how Apple is fighting against all those smartphone vendors. Netflix versus Google or how specific niche players are offering superior solutions. Booking as one example in the travel industry.
It looks quite likely that this is more a high-level attempt to see how far it can go. EPIC will be happy if, from the 30% app store fee, they could get down to 25%. They would still have created value for the shareholders then.
The same goes for many other segments where a reduction in competition would short term ease investor relations. There is also this assumption that when you compete with the big tech, you can only lose. And when they are reaching into your business, you need to try hard to convince investors why you are the exception.
The Other Battlefields
Left and right are also different battlefields. From the divided internet, which we can see right now with India, China, the US, and the EU.
Which tries to make local companies succeed instead of foreign.
There is also a new fight around talent with COVID-19, as more companies open up remote options. Which initially will favor those firms where talent naturally gravitates towards.
Politics is also becoming much more complicated and less predictable from Margrethe Vestager, who is pretty much behind US tech companies, to Trump, which is unpredictable.
Customers play a significant role in this, which is why EPIC is weaponizing their Fortnite base to justify their reckless behavior. In general, all those politics get a lot less attention from the customer perspective. With examples like TikTok gaining a lot of media coverage because of potential security flaws, this didn't reduce the actual user growth.