The havoc that multi-month lockdowns have wreaked on economies around the world is only starting to become apparent and will take a long time to be fully understood, but not everyone is emerging as a loser from this unprecedented crisis.
There’s been a massive transfer of wealth from small businesses to massive conglomerates during the lockdowns. Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft all reporting record-high values of their stock (except Google, whose stock reached 5 percent below record high.)
At the same time, so far in 2020, small companies in the US have been facing major problems with 22 percent of them shutting down, along with a 40 percent loss of revenue. And Big Tech’s currently on somewhat of a “shopping spree.” The five giants have $557 billion in cash and are buying companies at a reduced price as small businesses are struggling to survive.
The pandemic was always going to work out for Big Tech, as brick-and-mortar stores and services operated in them became inaccessible, while their digital counterparts thrived. In addition, as soon as the health crisis and the authorities’ response began, some social media-oriented companies immediately took the opportunity to cozy up to their critics by introducing censorship (YouTube) and highly controversial speech restrictions (Twitter).
But that has not been done evenly across the board, as the New York Times indicates when it says that Facebook has refused to “take action” against President Trump. And now, Facebook is under the spotlight for a series of acquisitions, seemingly designed to fill in the missing pieces of its market dominance around the world.
The report mentions that other giants are behaving similarly at this time, but the focus is on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has reinforced what’s probably its main business nowadays, cloud computing, by acquiring no less than three cloud computing companies.
Regulators and antitrust legislators in the US and Europe might have to take a closer look at all this activity.