Big tech companies today concentrate more power than ever. Their disputes with the States of all the continents which try to prevent their monopolies are on the agenda. Like the legislative battles to make them pay taxes in each territory. They are powerful global companies with their own agenda that because of their condition, they begin to be able to confront the governments of certain states face to face. Between them, Alphabet, and more precisely Google, occupies a prominent place for its function as an oracle which we all ask questions every day.
With a huge ecosystem that powers its entire advertising industry, Alphabet is powered by four main pillars: its search engine Googlethe platform Youtubeyour browser Chromium and your mobile operating system, androidgenerating a network that makes it one of the most powerful information centers in the world, if not the most.
But to understand their magnitude, it’s best to compare them to what they’re measured against. Here we are going to put Alphabet and Google in front of a mirror to understand their true weight in terms of influence, economy and, also, how it is run.
Alphabet: an expansionist enterprise (which would be a state)
Alphabet, the company that has served since 2015 as the holding company in which Google, YouTube and many other brands and companies are grouped, has become one of the largest technology conglomerates in the world, with a market cap of $1.75 trillion (trillion, in North American terminology) in March 2022. The company had net income of $76 billion on revenue of $257.6 billion in 2021.
As is well known, most of Alphabet’s revenue comes from advertising, a service that guided many of its acquisition decisions, such as buying DoubleClick in 2008.
However, in recent years, with the intention of gaining independence from its main activity, it has opened up many other avenues with varying degrees of success. Alphabet is constantly on the lookout for new technologies that can enrich its business portfolio. Acquiring smaller companies often eliminates emerging rivals, reducing competition for Alphabet.
This is one of the reasons why Alphabet is currently the subject of an antitrust lawsuit that has been filed by the US Department of Justice as well as the European Union. In reality, Alphabet is known not only for acquiring, but also for easily dropping products..
To get an idea of how much more Alphabet is than Google, YouTube or Android, these are other of his companies:
- Waymo: autonomous mobility
- Nest: home automation and security
- Fitbit: fitness wear
- Calico and Verily: aging and health
- DeepMind: Artificial Intelligence
- X Development: Research into high-impact technologies, with Waymo, for example, coming out of it.
And with a tendency to technocracy
When we say technocracy nwe refer to the direction of the technicians. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, have always had a broader view of the role of technology in the world. “Larry’s vision was always something like General Electric (GE), and Google was just his first proof of concept,” he reportedly said. New York Times. The reorganization that gave birth to Alphabet was Page and Brin’s attempt to streamline operations to focus energies on new businesses and transform Google from a conglomerate.
Thus, they delegated Eric Schmidt to assume the position of CEO for nearly 20 years.or the delegation to Sundar Pichai as the new CEO after his good work with Google Chrome.
Figures: a wealth equivalent to almost all of Africa
Some data that helps us to give an idea of the power of Google and Alphabet.
- 2 billion people have an Android phone
- YouTube has 2.3 billion monthly users
- 5,600 Google searches are generated per day
- 1.5 billion active users of Gmail, your email service
Compare, there are more people with a (and active) Gmail account than the population of all of Africawhere the population is estimated at 1.2 billion.
The comparison with the African continent also helps us economically. Alphabet’s market value is estimated at $1.7 trillion, equivalent to more than 40 African states.: the whole continent minus the richest states such as South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria or Egypt.
Even in number of employees, with 136,000, Google is said to have a population larger than 51 of the 244 internationally recognized countries.
Influence based on advertising and information
The book Everybody liesby researcher Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, who investigated big data related to Google searches, revealed how much our use of the search engine says a lot about us.
Part of this is reflected in how the level of power over the advertising industry (historically the usual information partner) has shifted between technology, and particularly Google, and traditional media.
Such was the turn of the tables, that all the publicity generated by worldwide television, the press and other media such as radio is equal to or less than the weight of some of these companies alone. Only Google earns more from advertising than all the media in the world, and that’s factoring in broken YouTube.
A monopoly that it obtains in part by buying out its competitors
If Google was a country, he would pay large sums of money to his borderers to continue to maintain his position like a monopoly in many ways.
In a nutshell, it forces you to narrow down your competitors’ entry points to make your search engine the spearhead of your big-budget business: user data and advertising.
And how does Google achieve this? Well, as we already knew, often paying other companies to put Google.com as their default search engine.
The agreement between Apple and Google has long been known to make the Alphabet search engine the default in Safari, the iOS browser, a direct entry route to users of these devices and, de facto, the closure out of the loop that mobile search is synonymous with going through Google, given that it owns the other major smartphone operating system, Android.
The agreement between Google and Apple renewed in 2017, but without giving specific payment figures. A New York Times investigation based on the lawsuit leaks, raises that figure to between $9,000 and $12,000 million annually worldwide.
What does Google achieve with this? Well, directly eliminate the decision layers of the millions of users of Apple devices and, in practice, close this huge window so that another competitor can access it.
This kind of monopolistic circle may seem silly when you know that Google dominates over 90% of global searchesbut it is the center of the judgment which remains to come: to know how Google, after having created a product which functions and convinces, uses this dominant position to stop any possible competition of the base.
Another good paradox that the current technology market has left us is the way Google, developer of Chrome, has managed to bring Firefox down from the throne of browsers and at the same time pay for it – less and less, yes, precisely because from its declining market rate – to that your search engine was also the default one in your product.
Mozilla has always had this deal as one of its main sources of funding, and it hasn’t always been with Google.. In 2015 and 2016, when Yahoo! he paid more than 470 million annually to the foundation so that his search engine was the predefined one. Needless to remind you how Yahoo! shortly after.
Here you can read previous articles in this series comparing big tech companies with Facebook (Meta) and Amazon dedicated countries.