From an entertainment perspective, I’m really sorry that the company’s antitrust hearing against the four major technology companies – Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google – took place on Wednesday next week. Because literally a day after a meeting trying to determine if big tech was too big, three of the four companies were in the hearing got bigger. (Google’s parent company, Alphabet, saw a drop in sales of about 2 percent, mainly due to a decrease in search ads. However, this was still better than forecast by analysts.)
The hearing was about how technology companies consolidated their power. The corona virus seems to make this consolidation even easier. No wonder when it turned out that the antitrust hearing would be delayed, that the rescheduled hearing took place before earnings. None of these companies wanted the winning numbers to be read to them before the survey started. These four companies together made a profit of $ 28.6 billion only a quarterr.
Meanwhile Amazon doubled The profit as more and more people ordered home delivery: $ 5.2 billion this quarter, compared to $ 2.6 billion last year. And Apple, which had closed many of its stores for parts of the quarter, was still making a $ 11.25 billion profit when people bought devices to talk to.
However, the rest of the economy is not too hot. The entire U.S. economy shrank 32 percent in the last quarter compared to 2019. It’s a bleak record, the worst quarter we’ve seen in 70 years. Compared to the general economic downturn, you can see why Alphabet investors thought a 2 percent drop in sales was a profit.
It should be remembered that technology companies – including those that did not report profits today, such as Microsoft, which also has a profitable pandemic – responded quickly to COVID-19 by closing offices and shops. Google said on Monday that it was expecting its employees to be back in the office in July 2021 at the earliest. Facebook said in May that it expects a larger remote staff as a permanent feature. Most Apple employees will be working from home by 2021, said CEO Tim Cook Bloomberg.
When other jobs follow this trend, big tech is made up of the companies that can benefit from remote work. For example, Amazon was supported by the video chat client Zoom, because the cloud services department AWS hosts part of Zoom. AWS has even earned a reputation in the Zoom win call! Due to the rapid increase in zoom usage during the pandemic, the company was unable to scale its own data centers quickly enough. Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan thanked AWS in his prepared comments for providing most of the new servers we needed, and sometimes added several thousand a day for several days in a row.
Back in March, my friend, colleague, and drinking buddy Casey Newton noticed that the pandemic had brought a wave of good news to these companies: They reacted quickly and decisively. “In a dramatic change from just weeks earlier, news about big tech was a bright spot in a time of great fear – and increasingly grief,” wrote Casey. “Journalists are increasingly asking whether the backlash against technology companies that have reported on them in the past three and a half years may end.”
The antitrust hearing suggests that the answer is no. At the same time, Americans are more dependent on big tech than ever – and trust it less. For example, Mark Zuckerberg’s newly published emails show how Facebook tries to kneel its competitors in every possible way. Another series of emails about hearing, this time from Jeff Bezos, suggests that Amazon bought Ring for the “market position”.
The more people become dependent on the internet for work, school, and social contact, the more likely it is that control over the technology giant’s anti-competitive practices will increase. But not, as this quarter shows, before these companies make much of the change.