How Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft Affect the News Business

From a Wall Street Journal story by Bowdeya Tweh and Katherine Riley headlined “Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. Call Them Tecdh Frenemies for Life”:

Once upon a time, Amazon only sold books, Apple sold computers, and Google was just a search engine. Those days are long gone, and each of those companies—as well as Microsoft and Facebook—has become a tech behemoth.

Big Tech’s critics say the industry’s giants wield too much power over the lives of internet users. The companies often argue in response that they face enormous competition, often from each other, and need to continue innovating to remain relevant.

The reality is an interplay of collaboration and competition that helps to shape the extent and nature of Big Tech’s clout. And that interplay is evolving, as the companies increasingly encroach on one another’s turf to build and protect their dynasties.

Tech giants have both protected themselves against competitive threats and opened new battlefronts by using their size and resources to acquire smaller companies and talent to expand their product lines and services….

The bonds among the five companies aren’t completely frayed: They continue to work together on everything from software development to industry advocacy. Beyond marketing their apps and products on one another’s platforms, the companies, in some instances, have enmeshed their businesses in ways that have drawn regulatory scrutiny.

News aggregation
Internet platforms have long been interested in news as a way to engage users. That—in addition to regulatory pressure—has spurred companies to offer to pay news publishers to distribute their content. Microsoft and Google have engaged in a war of words over their postures toward news producers. Facebook and Google announced separate plans to spend $1 billion on news content over three years. Apple, with its Apple News+ service, offers a paid subscription news product while Microsoft has its news product accessible through browsers and apps.

Digital advertising

Google and Facebook play dominant roles in digital advertising, but that business is also growing for Amazon, Microsoft and Apple. Even with competing digital ad networks, Amazon buys ads on certain Google search keywords, and Google is a top web-traffic referrer for a significant portion of Amazon third-party sellers. Separate online-ad agreements between Facebook and Google as well as between Google and Apple are receiving scrutiny in lawsuits from a group of state attorneys general and the Justice Department….

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