Big Tech is still big business and it's as cut-throat as it ever was

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I remember reading the quote above a while ago but I had to look up who actually said it — turns out it comes from French author André Maurois (The Silence of Colonel Bramble is an excellent read by the way) who was also Winston Churchill's official interpreter. I never bothered to think much about what it really meant, but I think I understand it a little better now. Business is, at its core, cut-throat and dirty.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this or maybe you're thinking that I've finally snapped and it's time to give me some medication and put me to bed. You might be right, but you should have a look at this article from Reuters while I'm changing into my pajamas: Two U.S. Big Tech antitrust bills backed by publisher trade group.

"Old media" trade group with ulterior motives

If you're like me, you will likely recognize many of the businesses named in that article but can't quite figure out how they are all connected or how they have anything to do with App Store fees at Apple and Google. I'll save you the trouble of wandering down a Google rabbit hole — they don't. Digital Content Next, a trade group comprised of businesses like Hearst Publishing, BET, Disney, and the Boston Globe, isn't in the business of running app stores for smartphones but is very concerned about how Google and Apple are doing it anyway.

I want to think that DCN is simply looking out for my (and your) best interests. After all, I'm a Paramount+ subscriber and visit the Weather Channel to check my local forecast every now and then, so I'm a customer of theirs in a long convoluted way. But I know better. I know that to DCN and the companies that make it what it is, I am nothing but an income-generation machine who will pay my monthly subscription fees for access to the media it provides.

But I am also a cynic who doesn't trust "businessmen" regardless of who they work for. I know that to Google I am also just a revenue-generation device that contributes both actual cash and a wealth of data — both of which make Google just a teensy bit richer. But I am still curious as to why NPR cares how much Google charges small independent app developers. To answer that, you need to look at the list of all companies that make up DCN and notice that many of them have one thing in common: They are/were print publishers who haven't had the success they would like transitioning to online media.

Sure, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times are doing fine but one can only imagine how much more they could generate if pesky Google didn't include summaries in search results. We see News Corp on the list and they haven't tried to hide how much they hate Google giving us information for free in Australia so I am going to assume they hate Google giving us information for free everywhere else, too.

Yes, I am saying that I think a trade group made of "old media" is helping the U.S. government punish Google and Apple any way it can because that's how business works. Whether it's Edison and Tesla electrocuting elephants or General Motors trying to lure Ralph Nader with prostitutes and tapping his phones, business is dirty. And it seems the bigger they get, the dirtier they become.

Wishful thinking


Source: Louis Velazquez (Image credit: Source: Louis Velazquez)

I would like to see my government looking out for the best interests of people like us. We are the reason they are there, after all, and looking out for us regular citizens is their only job. I also would like to believe that every eye in the room is watching companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon and all of the rest to make sure nothing fishy is going on — and stopping it when it does happen. However, don't make the mistake of thinking any company cares about you unless the company is small enough that you know everyone working there. I trust the business that I buy my baked bird treats from because I know them. I do not trust Google. The company may make the software used on the best Android phones, but it's also making billions from the data of its users.

I just wish we could all be informed when one group of people we probably shouldn't trust goes after another group of people we probably shouldn't trust. I'm sure the information is public, just like it is in this particular case, but I shouldn't have to stumble across it one evening while reading newsfeeds on the toilet.

Stay woke

We're going to try and get more information about these types of proceedings when we report on them in the future. If we find anything we'll be sure to tell you about it. You should also read more about any type of proposed legislation or legal matters when it comes to the things you are interested in because one person or group of people just can't find everything.

What's important is that we all keep in mind that we're basically on our own here. Companies will look out for their best interests. Elected officials will also look out for their best interests. It's time to stop thinking someone else is looking out for us. Maybe I am wrong and the Daily Caller (another member of DCN) really wants to protect me, but I don't think so.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.