Tech’s ‘Frightful 5’ Will Dominate Digital Life for Foreseeable Future

Description:There’s a little parlor game that people in Silicon Valley like to play. Let’s call it, Who’s Losing?

Source: nytimes.com

Date: Jan 20. 2016

There are currently four undisputed rulers of the consumer technology industry: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, now a unit of a parent company called Alphabet. And there’s one more, Microsoft, whose influence once looked on the wane, but which is now rebounding.

So which of these five is losing? A year ago, it was Google that looked to be in a tough spot as its ad business appeared more vulnerable to Facebook’s rise. Now, Google is looking up, and it’s Apple, hit by rising worries about a slowdown in iPhone sales, that may be headed for some pain. Over the next couple of weeks, as these companies issue earnings that show how they finished 2015, the state of play may shift once more.   read rest of story

Questions:
1.  Does this narrative of the tech industry give you positive view of of tech development going forward ?  why or why not?

2.   “Tech people like to picture their industry as a roiling sea of disruption”    Do you agree with this statement, why or why not?

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71 thoughts on “Tech’s ‘Frightful 5’ Will Dominate Digital Life for Foreseeable Future

  1. Anji sanusi

    This article gives me a positive and negative view on technology development going forward. Looking back at the phone industry we had back then ( Blackberry, LG, Motorola, Nokia, etc.) and comparing that to what we have today is a proof that technology is not only moving forward but is also a lack of some competitors not planning for the long-term survival of their company. I think this can also be a negative impact because as time goes on, technology will start replacing jobs. Recently, I visited the CIBC branch on the westside and was shocked to see how much it has changed. All Customer Service representative jobs have now been replaced by “virtual” banking.
    So it is scary to see how much we rely on technology and how these companies have impacts on our everyday lives.

    Reply
  2. Gage Cherriman

    The narrative gives me some mixed feelings about teach development going forward. Since the five operate as a form of an oligopoly in their industry competing for market share, competition rules that advancements should be in favour of the consumer which is great for us. Due to the publicity of the company’s listed it may be difficult for them to act against consumer interest; however, as the article sites some of these company’s have breached consumer privacy’s in the past. The article speaks to just how much reach each company has on its own little lone in conjunction. As each company innovates the market it can make it very difficult for new entrants which could lead slowed advancements and corruption of ideals which is scary. Overall it leaves me hopeful for these company’s but maybe a little hazard.
    External to this article there has been plenty of examples of company’s coming under attack by rogue entities and foreign governments. Just in considering the mass of financial and potential capital that these company’s control the thought of malicious intent is terrifying. In the context of a start up company gaining market share and beating out one of these corporations would put its employees on edge and may cause anxiety over continual employment. This combined with the level of sensitive content each of theses companies has control over must be nerve racking. In the context of job security, I think each of these companies has cemented their place in the digital world what cannot be erased.

    Reply
  3. Reanne

    The narrative of the tech industry gives me a positive view of tech development for the “Frightful Five” but a negative view for any other tech companies trying to establish themselves amidst these five companies. The very title creates the sense of fierce competition. This suggests that it will be difficult to break into for other competitors.

    The “rolling sea of disruption” pictured by tech people is a phrase I would agree with. The tech industry has historically changed drastically, and it continues to change at a rapid pace. This would provide many challenges with staying current in the industry. In addition, it would make it difficult to protect products and equipment from malicious intent.

    Reply
  4. Franchesca Lee

    The narrative of the tech industry gives me positive view of of tech development going forward because it stays that they will not be losing no matter there are new techs coming out. Even though, there might be some difficulties from the Chinese hardware and software companies and the threat of regulation from the government intervention, the frightful 5 (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Alphabet) are still going well. People are so used to most of them (except for Alphabet which I have never heard about it) and it comes the element in our daily life. Each year, some of the frightful 5 might go up, some might go down but they are always linked together since there are companies that own more than one social media. Neither of them will be the best since they all keep up the work and have new changes everyday so that they will always be the giant 5.
    For myself, I use Facebook and Google everyday and I own two apple products. It is very hard to escape from all those social medias since almost everyone I know uses use at least one of the social medias. But I don’t see it as a bad thing because it makes my life to be much easier and interesting. I like to be on social medias since it makes my life way much easier but I also have some concerns for our next generations because they might not be able to socialize with others when they have all kinds of technology which is the negative view of the tech development going too fast. Besides that, I’m still happy with the growing of the technology.

    Reply
  5. Amber Christianson

    I felt like the article was a bit negative in talking about the “frightful 5,” especially relating to anyone who wants to get competitive in the market. Personally, I have never even heard of alphabet! Take for example- Instagram launched in Oct 2010, gained 1 million followers in the first 2 months! Once a bright “new” idea comes along, people seem follow along quite quickly. The downside is- these 5 companies will usually buy out the small companies, which keeps these 5 forces on top (Facebook bought Instagram in 2012)

    Anything dealing with technology can be disruptive- once a new system comes along, everyone has to try it! All of these programs grow and change every single year! I don’t think Facebook would be as high as they are if they didn’t keep buying out other companies (Instagram) – less people are on Facebook nowadays because let’s face it… it is old. Also with amazon, it has grown so much in the past few years! people are buying clothes, facial products, even grocery lines! Amazon has really dominated that market so anyone else has a really hard time even competing! The world right now is really being run by technology! Each of the 5 companies have their technology so intertwined into peoples life, that most people nowadays can’t go a day without looking at their phones! I think it’s bad we are so reliant on technology, but these 5 companies are set for a long time, and with their popularity so high within this generation- I think they will stay on top for quite a long time!

    Reply
    1. Daniel Wilson

      This narrative gives me mixed feelings about tech development going forward in the future. The article mentions that the frightful five control the world’s most valuable platforms. These are described as the basic building blocks for technology that the world including start-ups and competitors rely upon. This could be a positive thing because now many in the technology industry can build on top of those foundation blocks and not have to worry about technologies that are completely incompatible with one another. However, this has a dark side to it as well. Since the frightful five have such dominance, innovation is much more stifled. The general public has come to rely on these technologies and the compatibility between them. Even if a company managed to create something better than the valuable platforms that are used as building blocks, it would be difficult to adapt because everyone else is already on what the frightful five have put out.

      I would no longer agree that the tech industry is a roiling sea of disruption. Even though we see new improvements to the technology we already have like the newest Samsung Galaxy phone or the newest model iPhone, they are still smartphones albeit more powerful than their predecessors. The only disruption I see in this industry is the need to constantly update your tech and knowledge or be obsolete due to the increase power requirements of newer programs and the increasing complexity of them. Since the creation of the smartphone, I haven’t seen much roiling disruption in the tech industry other than software improvements.

      Reply
  6. Amber Christianson

    I felt like the article was a bit negative in talking about the “frightful 5,” especially relating to anyone who wants to get competitive in the market. Personally, I have never even heard of alphabet! Take for example- Instagram launched in Oct 2010, gained 1 million followers in the first 2 months! Once a bright “new” idea comes along, people seem follow along quite quickly. The downside is- these 5 companies will usually buy out the small companies, which keeps these 5 forces on top (Facebook bought Instagram in 2012)

    Anything dealing with technology can be disruptive- once a new system comes along, everyone has to try it! All of these programs grow and change every single year! I don’t think Facebook would be as high as they are if they didn’t keep buying out other companies (Instagram) – less people are on Facebook nowadays because let’s face it… it is old. Also with amazon, it has grown so much in the past few years! people are buying clothes, facial products, even grocery lines! Amazon has really dominated that market so anyone else has a really hard time even competing! The world right now is really being run by technology! Each of the 5 companies have their technology so intertwined into peoples life, that most people nowadays can’t go a day without looking at their phones! I think it’s bad we are so reliant on technology, but these 5 companies are set for a long time, and with their popularity so high within this generation- I think they will stay on top for quite a long time!

    Reply
  7. Shelby Ohno

    This narrative has a very negative stigma naming the five leaders of the tech industry the Frightful Five. The intimidating name suggests that competition with these companies is fierce and unlikely. When a start up company enters into the tech industry with a product that could potentially compete, some of the big 5 reap the benefits of getting money from app downloads and advertising and often times they eventually get bought out by one of the frightful five. That start up is added to their diverse market of products. Each of these five companies developed technology that is so essential to our day to day computer use that even competitors rely on the systems they created. The tech industry has some difficult competition but the development from year to year is phenomenal. Ultimately, this article gives me a positive view of tech development going forward. The more intense the competition the faster and more efficient companies are at creating great products to make sure they have it on the market first.
    An industry like the tech industry is unpredictable in competition, new advances and new entries. I agree with the statement that “Tech people like to picture their industry a rolling sea of disruption”. This is a great way to describe the tech industry. The companies that compete in this industry are always looking to advance their technology and find new and innovative ways for productivity.

    Reply
  8. Matthew Stark

    I have currently decided to answer question 1 for this blog. After reading this article my perspective has stayed the same and I still feel that the tech aspect provides a positive perspective on our world. Before reading this article, I was very familiar with tech companies such as Apple and Google. I was aware of other companies such as Amazon and Alphabet but did not realize they had so much power over our society. After reading this article it gives me a positive view of what tech development companies have in store for society in the future. With many new tech companies entering the market and fighting for the consumers to buy their products, it will be interesting to see what new products companies will develop to persuade us. It’s crazy to think how much technology has changed over the years and how they are advancing so much every day. Technology molds our every decision in today’s world as we are reliant on our smart phones or laptops to communicate with other people. We use electronic devices every day at work to complete our projects and send emails. We have become reliant on our electronic devices to help us get through our everyday life. With technology improving daily, it is very promising for our future as it has the possibility to make our everyday life easier and better. With the big tech companies binding together known as the Frightful Five it would be hard for new competition to enter this market and even be successful as these companies continue to create new products to keep their consumers excited and loyal.

    Reply
  9. Abdulaziz Sani

    Does this narrative of the tech industry give you positive view of tech development going forward? Why or why not?
    My opinion is, it depends on what angle you look at it from. On one hand, as someone who is intrigued by the innovations of this so called “frightful five”, I believe that as a result of the competition between them all, it will push each one of these industries to keep trying to come up with better innovations and advancement ideas, to in turn keep them atop of the technology world; which is otherwise some sort of good news for the rest of the world, as one of these future innovations might end up solving one of the world’s biggest issues.
    On the other hand, there is some sort of negative. The negative mainly being that these “frightful five” are huge intimidators not only to other companies in the tech world, but to entrepreneurs looking to go into the industry; As a result of the reputation these five companies have built for themselves, it will be a daunting task for a new company to make any sort of wave in the industry. I find this to be a negative more importantly because the world’s best idea might be dieing in some young and intimidated entrepreneur who might never summon up the courage to bring their idea to life as a result of the fear of failure. And in contrast to the positive, this is otherwise some sort of bad news for the world, as who knows how many wonderful innovations the world might have benefited from, if the “frightful five” weren’t so ‘frightful’.

    Reply
  10. Laura

    This article does give a positive view of the tech development industry if you are one of the five large companies. They are comfortable with where they are sitting and the development that they ae doing because they know that there is little treat of another company coming up with something better then them. As well they have such a large customer base that what ever they come up with, even if it is late, will be the go to product for the average consumer. These large companies will always be working on their tech development just as the other smaller companies are, but they don’t have to be right on the leading edge of it to be successful. This could mean that there are fewer people in the future to want to develop new tech advancement because the market has been cornered by the giants. Hopefully there will still be people out there who are willing to take the risk and face the giants to get the newest tech out to the world to be used. There will always be opportunities for new innovation to join the marketplace.
    I agree with the quote about the roiling sea of disruption. The tech people of companies are always trying to be prepared for the risk of something new that will outshine their product or service. Although it is tough to get into the tech industry there are always people out there who have great new ideas that can be discovered and marketed to the world. In the era that we are in there is so much opportunity for changes to be made to existing technologies that allows for the market to be opened up slightly for the smaller man.

    Reply
  11. Mandy

    The “Frightful Five” are just that – frightful. These companies are huge, have a lot of power and money, “and are controlled by founders who don’t have to bow to the whims to potential activist investors”. It’s comforting to know how much they apply themselves in other fields of business like health care and finance, and “they’re building cars, drones, robots and immersive virtual-reality worlds.” It’s awesome that they are aiming to use their abilities and reach to benefit more than directly themselves.
    We’ll see how they fair against other companies rising to fame in other parts of the world. Maybe it will spur the frightful five for faster and better innovations to stay at the top, or maybe they will be replaced by companies that do so. Either way competition will drive positive results for consumers.

    Reply
  12. Tyson Gaehring

    The author portrays “Techs Frightful Five” in a negative way, as they occupy too much power in their respective fields of business. One of the primary ways they have achieved power is through entrenching individuals in their platforms, making them inescapable. With low costs of I.T., streamlined business processes, and access to more information these companies do not plan on decreasing innovation or stopping their growth. The author notes there is competition between the tech giants but is there anyway smaller companies can increase their growth and gain market share from these companies? They are quite well protected against start-ups since they can make a profit off them. The author gives examples of advertising dollars Facebook and google get from start-ups, or the money apple and google get from apps of start-ups. This enforces how essential these companies are to our everyday life, given how much we use them. Would there ever be time where they become obsolete? It doesn’t look like it as they keep rolling out new products such as mobile phones, software, and features. They have also begun expanding into new markets such as health care and artificial intelligence, which would make them even more indispensable if they can make a dent in the industry. However maybe things are not as bad as the author portrays them to be. These companies have become giants for a reason- they are the best at what they do. Why not let them take control and see what they have in store for us in the future.

    Reply
  13. Scott Lamb

    1. Does this narrative of the tech industry give you positive view of of tech development going forward ? why or why not?
    This absolutely does not give me a positive view of the technology industry of the future.
    I believe in a free and open market, however for 1,000 or so words, I just read that there are significant barriers to entry in this market. Obviously, as the article mentioned, small start-ups can have their own small-scale success. However, that success will be derived through a “Frightful Five” platform.
    Although, I do see positives from this article, too. For instance, from an investor standpoint it looks as though these companies are safe investments that will generate me a positive return.
    Also, these “Frightful Five” all provide a lot of jobs to the globe.

    2. “Tech people like to picture their industry as a roiling sea of disruption” Do you agree with this statement, why or why not?
    In some cases, I do and in some cases I do not.
    I do think of the technology industry as a sea of disruption in the sense that because so much interaction and usage happens on the internet “wild, wild west” as it’s coined, much of the activity is unaccountable, and therefore beyond policing and ethics. I.e. Hackers, pornography.
    However from a more macro point of view, like the article outlined, it appears as though these “Frightful Five” are insurmountable economic beasts that can never be dethroned. In this case, the industry is much unlike a sea of disruption.

    Reply
  14. Daniel Wright

    I believe that it depends on which angle you are looking at it from. On one hand, if you are a consumer, it most definitely looks positive because of the vast quantity of products and services that are going to be out there for the consumer to purchase. This is due to the fact that each company is continually competing against each to stay one step ahead of the game. On the other hand if you are a company that is trying to enter the industry it pose a negative view that the five dominating companies has controlling interest of the entire interest. In order to get into the industry you hypothetically have to get into bed with them or have something that is totally innovative and has not yet been marketed. The five major companies have achieved this through becoming adventure capitalists. I do not think this is an everlasting situation that the individual organization will be able to up hold forever. Eventually something will come along and decrease their popularity in the industry.

    The inability to predict the future or what the future has to offer the tech industry is why I come to this conclusion. “Someone, somewhere in a garage is gunning for us,” Eric Schmidt, Alphabet’s executive chairman. I totally agree with the statement, “Tech people like to picture their industry as a roiling sea of disruption.” It totally portrays the volatility of the tech industry. All it takes is one invention the shift the playing field. Do I believe this will result in the destruction of the five major companies? No, it only means that there will be more added to the list. In the end it will only benefit the consumer and the organizations involved.

    Reply
  15. Audencio

    1. Does this narrative of the tech industry give you positive view of of tech development going forward ? why or why not?

    From the narrative I gathered that there is a lot to be positive about as far as the consumer goes. These major companies are doing their research within their respective sectors from the information that they gather from their platforms. For example when someone searches on Amazon or Facebook you will later see adds or cookies in many of your other webpages you visit or applications you use. In the article it explains how Apple uses what is popular their on app market, in order to improve the iPhones they produce. Google has the ability to tap into everything it learns, as an example, how people use their phones, then create an artificial intelligence engine that can help improve our devices. Within these major companies the research is always in motion, they are always looking to see what the next best thing they can engineer will be or how it can revolutionize the industry. Its a buyers market and with their extreme success the consumers win. On the flip side of things there is some negatiity with such big companies such as Amazon. When a company becomes to powerful like Amazon they become a threat to small business and to competition as whole. The pricing that Amazon has on some products is far too competitive that some small business owners are forced to shut down that line or shut down as a whole. As technology advances there is speculation that many jobs will soon be cut down due to the improvement of the technology being devloped .

    Reply

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