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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
By now, Big Tech is following a familiar pattern: launch in a single lane, expand, kill competition, capture more and more of your users’ waking hours, kill more competition, expand more, and all the while deaden any public suffering with free services.
Erica writes: With immense, monopolistic power, Big Tech platforms — Apple, Amazon and Google — are behaving like governments, taxing competition with usurious fees and marching across industries.
Driving the news: Yesterday, Apple announced its latest gambit — movie, music, news and banking services, following Amazon and Google, which have both ballooned far beyond their original business lines.
How Apple can pull it off: It shares an effective duopoly with Google in mobile app stores. "That is why they can set their tax so high," Jonathan Tepper, author of "The Myth of Capitalism," tells Axios. "They can dictate terms for buyers and sellers."
The NYT and WP were public with their disgruntlement.
But not all businesses are powerful enough to dodge the tech platforms.
Amazon's role as both the online mall and a store within the mall has long made it a target of critics and regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.
Roundabout Books, an independent bookstore in Greenfield, Massachusetts, has split its store in half. The front is a showroom, and the back a warehouse from which the staff ships about 100 books per day, owner Raymond Neal tells me.
"My least favorite place to sell is Amazon because their fees are just oppressively large," Neal says. But "Amazon accounts for about 70% of all our sales, so they are essentially the only game in town."
Mercedes plant in Vance, Alabama. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty
Job automation has become a key factor in economic anxiety in recent years. As 2020 campaigns begin, Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to live and work in regions with highly automatable jobs, according to a new analysis.
In a blog post, Brookings' Mark Muro, Jacob Whiton and Robert Maxim find a correlation between susceptibility to automation and red congressional districts.
Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia, tells Axios that he sees no opening for Democrats to exploit worker anxiety caused by layoffs and the threat of more.
Photo: Edward Berthelot/Getty
Some free games or airport Wi-Fi login pages ask people to watch a short video ad before giving them what they want — internet access or a new power-up.
Kaveh writes: Users are held captive while the short ads play, but they can just put down their phones and come back when it's done.
But how to know that people aren't starting the ads and then wandering off to do something fun until they're over? Spikes' proposed solution: facial recognition.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Photo: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty
The items most often left in Ubers are pretty much what you'd expect: phones, wallets, cameras, keys and, of course, vapes.
Kaveh writes: But plenty of unexpected things have been left in Ubers, according to the company's latest "Lost & Found Index." A sampling:
Uber says the prime times for losing items are between 11 pm and 1 am, and on Saturdays and Sundays. The company doesn't say why this is, but we can think of a popular nighttime activity that might be associated with forgetfulness.