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paulkienitz

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Bay Area, California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 930

About Me

Software engineer who thinks a lot about the future. http://paulkienitz.net/future/

Journal Archives

So what's up with Liz's plan to break up Gloogle, Farcebook, and Amazong?

My initial preference in the primaries is for Elizabeth Warren, as she has the most concrete track record at working constructively to limit the power and maximize the accountability of the big financial institutions which are at the core of the increasing stratification and corruption of our public society. But then she comes up with an idea that makes me scratch my head: treat the three biggest internet companies as monopolies and break them up.

With Amazun this might make sense; you could realistically expect separate pieces to compete with each other. But the traditional competitive model just isn't going to apply to Goggle or Facebuck. They offer free services. If you split such a service in two, then whichever of the two offers slightly better service will drive the other out. This especially applies to social media where the number one reason for choosing a particular platform is because it's the one that other people you know have already chosen. There is little value in being the number two social media platform, and I as a user have practically zero choice in which one to use -- my friends and family have already chosen for me, and I can either communicate with them or go off and talk to myself.

So apparently Liz is mainly talking about just divesting them of some of the side companies they have added to their portfolios over the years: Youtub, Instagroan, and so on. That might help reduce the consolidation, but it does nothing about the essential monopoly control that each company will still have in their core area.

But I've also heard someone mention forcing Fazebuck to support integration with other media services, so that if I like service A and you like service B, we can still see each other's shit. That is probably the thing that would help the most, and would allow smaller companies to essentially sell a boutique social media experience that still has the content you're there for. But I remain doubtful that it would actually succeed in creating meaningful competition. Most of the people will probably still end up in the same place.

And for the search monopoly, I don't even see how there's an option like that which on paper might help make it competitive. That lock on the market probably isn't going anywhere until it gets disrupted by artificial intelligence that can understand natural language questions, and even that might just come from the same company.

What do you guys think? Have any of you looked into Liz's plan in greater depth, and do you have any ideas about it?
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