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It is stunning that members of Congress mostly agree that four of America’s most successful companies are bullies that abuse their power to stay on top.
That was my thought reading the conclusions of a 16-month congressional investigation into whether Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple broke the law to squash competition. The assessment was, essentially, yup.
The Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have major points of disagreement, and only Democrats signed this report. But while the two parties are divided — possibly irreconcilably so — over how to fix the problem, they appear to mostly agree that those four companies should not be allowed to continue as is.
It’s not unusual to hate on large companies; it was true of big banks and oil companies at the peak of their power. But still. This feels like a moment that reflects real discomfort and derision for big technology companies, and I’m not sure there is a way to go back to the shinier, happier days.
On to some of my assessments of the report. (You can read all 449 pages for yourself here.)
It is so relentlessly negative. Where is the nuance? The House report was unequivocal that Google and Facebook are monopolies, and that elements of Amazon and Apple are as well. (My colleagues have more specifics.)
One thing that struck me is that the House Democrats saw almost everything that the big tech companies do as evidence of illegal anti-competitive activity. It felt overdone. And there was little recognition of what the U.S. economy and people have gained from the success of these tech giants.
A small example: House members called out Google for preventing other companies that
Oct. 1 (UPI) — Tech giant Google said Thursday it has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to dozens of publishers for news content in the coming years, an answer to complaints that have been made for years by outlets.
Google said a new format, called the News Showcase, will allow publishers to decide what content will be displayed on its search platform.
The company said it will also pay some of the content producers to include premium articles at no cost to readers.
Google’s agreement will pay producers more than $1 billion over three years and will begin immediately.
“This financial commitment — our biggest to date — will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement.
“This approach is distinct from our other news products because it leans on the editorial choices individual publishers make about which stories to show readers and how to present them.
“It will start rolling out today to readers in Brazil and Germany, and will expand to other countries in the coming months where local frameworks support these partnerships.”
Producers in Britain, Australia and Canada are also part of the deal.
Google said the money is an investment in the future of the news industry.
“Depending on the story and how they want to tell it, participating publishers can pick the best template to showcase the best of their journalism and tell stories the way they want to,” said Brad Bender, Google vice president of product management for news.
“This additional context for users not only helps users understand the story better but also helps them to get to know the publisher’s editorial voice and priorities.”
In recent years, some advertisers have moved their money from