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jerryking : oligopolies   8

Platform companies have to learn to share
August 19, 2018 | Financial Times | Rana Foroohar.

Algorithmic management places dramatically more power in the hands of platform companies. Not only can they monitor workers 24/7, they benefit from enormous information asymmetries that allow them to suddenly deactivate drivers with low user ratings, or take a higher profit margin from riders willing to pay more for speedier service, without giving drivers a cut. This is not a properly functioning market. It is a data-driven oligopoly that will further shift power from labour to capital at a scale we have never seen before......Rather than wait for more regulatory pushback, platform tech companies should take responsibility now for the changes they have wreaked — and not just the positive ones. That requires an attitude adjustment. Many tech titans have a libertarian bent that makes them dismissive of the public sector as a whole.......Yet the potential benefits of ride-hailing and sharing — from less traffic to less pollution — cannot actually be realised unless the tech companies work with the public sector. One can imagine companies like Uber co-operating with city officials to phase in vehicles slowly, rolling out in underserved areas first, rather than flooding the most congested markets and creating a race to the bottom......Airbnb...often touts its ability to open up new neighbourhoods to tourism, but research shows that in cities like New York, most of its business is done in a handful of high end areas — and the largest chunk by commercial operators with multiple listings, with the effect of raising rents and increasing the strains caused by gentrification. On the labour side, too, the platform companies must take responsibility for the human cost of disruption. NYU professor Arun Sundararajan, has proposed allowing companies to create a “safe harbour” training fund that provides benefits and insurance for drivers and other on-demand workers without triggering labour laws that would categorise such workers as full-time employees (which is what companies want to avoid).
Airbnb  algorithms  dark_side  data_driven  gig_economy  information_asymmetry  New_York_City  oligopolies  on-demand  platforms  public_sector  Rana_Foroohar  ride_sharing  sharing_economy  safe_harbour  training  Uber 
august 2018 by jerryking
Whole Foods changes unlikely to spark Canadian grocery price wars
August 29th | The Globe and Mail | by DAVID FRIEND.

The country's biggest grocers are unlikely to play along with deep cuts by Whole Foods' new owner Amazon in the aisles of its 13 locations across Canada. That's partly because the imminent threat of the high-end chain wouldn't justify the financial hit of reacting with deep discounts, suggested Brynn Winegard, a marketing expert at Winegard and Company.

"Places like Loblaws, Sobeys and Longo's won't necessarily be able to afford that," she said.

"But what you will be looking at is a huge market play towards loyalty."

Winegard expects established chains to lean on their reputations – and points-redemption programs – in hopes of keeping customers from straying to competitors in the short term.

Expect better deals on taking home three bottles of spaghetti sauce instead of two, for example, and more appealing bonus point offers designed to get customers back into stores. Both are generally more affordable, and effective, strategies than deep cuts to a wide assortment of products.

Price wars have a long history of offering Canadian grocers little upside, especially if their profit margins are cut to the bone.......Canadian grocers are misdirecting their attention to storefronts, rather than establishing infrastructure that could go head-to-head in the digital world, Amazon's forte.

"Amazon certainly has the capacity, the capability and the website support to do this – the other stores, like Loblaw and Sobeys, aren't really there yet."
supermarkets  grocery  Loblaws  Sobeys  Longo's  Amazon  Whole_Foods  Canadian  price_wars  loyalty_management  oligopolies 
august 2017 by jerryking
Can the Tech Giants Be Stopped? -
July 14, 2017 | WSJ | By Jonathan Taplin.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and other tech behemoths are transforming the U.S. economy and labor market, with scant public debate or scrutiny. Changing course won’t be easy....."we are rushing ahead into the AI universe with almost no political or policy debate about its implications. Digital technology has become critical to the personal and economic well-being of everyone on the planet, but decisions about how it is designed, operated and developed have never been voted on by anyone. Those decisions are largely made by executives and engineers at Google, Facebook, Amazon and other leading tech companies, and imposed on the rest of us with very little regulatory scrutiny. It is time for that to change.

Who will win the AI race? The companies that are already in the forefront: Google, Facebook and Amazon. As AI venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee recently wrote in the New York Times , “A.I. is an industry in which strength begets strength: The more data you have, the better your product; the better your product, the more data you can collect; the more data you can collect, the more talent you can attract; the more talent you can attract, the better your product.”".....How did we get here? I would date the rise of the digital monopolies to August 2004, when Google raised $1.9 billion in its initial public offering......This shift has brought about a massive reallocation of revenue, with economic value moving from the creators of content to the owners of monopoly platforms. Since 2000, revenues for recorded music in the U.S. have fallen from almost $20 billion a year to less than $8 billion, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. U.S. newspaper ad revenue fell from $65.8 billion in 2000 to $23.6 billion in 2013 (the last year for which data are available). Though book publishing revenues have remained flat, this is mostly because increased children’s book sales have made up for the declining return on adult titles.....The precipitous decline in revenue for content creators has nothing to do with changing consumer preferences for their content. People are not reading less news, listening to less music, reading fewer books or watching fewer movies and TV shows. The massive growth in revenue for the digital monopolies has resulted in the massive loss of revenue for the creators of content. The two are inextricably linked......In the third quarter of 2016, companies owned by Facebook or Google took 90% of all new digital ad revenue. ....The history of Silicon Valley itself offers some guidance here. The astonishing technological revolution of the past half-century would never have occurred without the impetus of three seminal antitrust prosecutions. ....The clear historical lesson, which is waiting to be rediscovered in our own day, is that antitrust action has often served not to constrain innovation but to promote it.
Apple  Alphabet  Big_Tech  Google  Amazon  Microsoft  Facebook  artificial_intelligence  privacy  antitrust  Silicon_Valley  content  platforms  virtuous_cycles  content_creators  public_discourse  oligopolies  oversight  value_migration  regulation  innovation  seminal  no_oversight  imperceptible_threats  FAANG  backlash  Kai-Fu_Lee 
july 2017 by jerryking
Amazon Is Leading Tech’s Takeover of America - WSJ
By Christopher Mims
June 16, 2017

The impact of all this is clear: Existing businesses that can’t respond by becoming tech companies themselves are going to get bought or bulldozed, and power and wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few companies in a way not seen since the Gilded Age. The rest of us will have to decide how comfortable we are buying all our goods and services from the members of an oligopoly.

Think about it: Apple, a computer company that became a phone company, is now working on self-driving cars, original TV programming and augmented reality, while pushing into payments territory previously controlled by banks, moves that could make it the first trillion-dollar company in the world.

Facebook , still seen by some as a baby-pictures-and-birthday-reminders company, is creating drones, virtual-reality hardware, original TV shows, even telepathic brain-computer interfaces.

Google parent Alphabet Inc., still largely an ad company with a search engine, built Android, which now runs more personal computing devices than any other software on Earth. It ate the maps industry; it’s working on internet-beaming balloons, energy-harvesting kites, and ways to extend the human lifespan. It’s also arguably the leader in self-driving tech.

Meanwhile, serial disrupter Elon Musk brings his tech notions to any market he pleases—finance, autos, energy, aerospace.
Amazon  disruption  oligopolies  Facebook  Google  Apple  Gilded_Age  Elon_Musk  augmented_reality  Christopher_Mims 
june 2017 by jerryking
Harper wanted wireless competition. All he got was grief -
Sep. 09 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by Konrad Yakabuski.

Ottawa has had every good reason to seek to inject competition into Canada’s wireless sector. Our trio of telecommunications conglomerates have behaved as any loosely regulated oligopoly would, effectively eliminating consumer choice with identical pricing and straitjacketed product offerings. They have deftly split the Canadian market equally among themselves, ensuring heady profit margins. As far as Rogers, Bell and Telus are concerned, the status quo is heaven....Pity Mr. Harper. He has nothing to show for five years of attempts to spur competition in Canada’s wireless sector except the ire of corporate Canada and thousands of Rogers, Bell and Telus employees. Consumers, a diffuse constituency, were never going to reward the Conservatives for lower cellular prices. (As if they’d let that determine their vote.) But you can bet employees of the Big Three will remember the summer of ’13 when they next go to the ballot box.
Konrad_Yakabuski  wireless  telecommunications  oligopolies  Verizon  constituencies  Corporate_Canada 
september 2013 by jerryking

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