Another crash. Shares of Snap Inc. fell 17% this month, and it became clear that the myth of the emerging and warrior company that dislodges the pedestal to the technological giant was just a myth.
Of course Snap, the company behind Snapchat, still impresses. In just five years, it reached an audience of 173 million users, mostly young people, who communicate in innovative and fun ways.
But the future of Snap as an independent company seems uncertain and speculated that it will be “swallowed” by Google or another internet giant.
Snapchat faces a very difficult battle. The extraordinary resources that Facebook has already allowed to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp, and if you can not buy a competitor, simply copy it.
There is a growing feeling in the sector that the big winners of the last decade, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, or “GAFA” as the four companies are known by their acronyms, will dominate the world of internet without any opposition.
In the past some analysts have warned that Facebook, which is barely 13 years old, could be under threat. And this is a vision that the company itself has fostered whenever one speaks of limiting its powers.
Everything indicates that technology giants will dominate the key technology of our time: artificial intelligence. The argument was that like Bebo, MySpace and Friends Reunited, Facebook could also become obsolete if users opted for new platforms.
But the truth is that the social network war ended. And Facebook is the undisputed winner. Some smaller players in the industry like LinkedIn, Twitter and yes, also Snapchat, will have significant audiences in the future but will battle to make money.
However, apart from China, the social network whose value is estimated at about US $ 500 billion will remain the main way to communicate in the future.
And the other members of the “Gafa” tetrarchy also seem secure in their domination.
Google gained the battle of the search engines in desktop computers a long time ago and is an equally formidable force in the mobile devices. As for Amazon, he is the undisputed champion in online shopping and logistics and is a leader in cloud computing.
There is a growing feeling that Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple will control the internet world without any opposition. And while Apple has a relatively smaller share of the smartphone market, it has kept most of the gains in this sector for the past 7 years.
Trends in technology indicate that these four giants will reach even more immeasurable levels of wealth. Advertising is increasingly targeting the mobile market, and Google and Facebook already get the most revenue from mobile ads.
Artificial intelligence, the key technology
But it is another sector in which the technology giants will further strengthen their leadership: artificial intelligence. They recently told me that a skilled artificial intelligence worker graduated from one of the top universities in the United States can earn an annual salary of close to US $ 500,000 in his first job.
And it is not the emerging companies, the startups, that pay those wages, but Facebook and Amazon. Of course there are many brilliant researchers in artificial intelligence in the UK, but most work for US companies. Two Artificial Intelligence startups, DeepMind and Swiftkey were bought by Google and Microsoft respectively.
Lack of competition
Should we worry about the growing dominance of the four giants? It is not surprising that the companies in question insist that a new company can emerge that puts them in check.
So far, the monopoly control agencies in the United States have not gotten too involved. They tend to be more concerned if consumers pay too much for lack of competition.
But since the giants of social networks and search services offer excellent services at no cost, US regulators do not seem to fret.
Concern in Europe
In Europe, however, the competition agencies are more skeptical and are questioning whether almost monopolistic companies benefit consumers in the long run.
That is why the European Union (EU) took decisions against Microsoft and Google, when these companies have not had similar problems in the United States. EU regulators insist that all their actions are based on the law and not on political grounds.
But there is no doubt that some European politicians are concerned that a few companies based on the west coast of the United States have so much power over our lives.
For now, however, despite the concern