Dexter writes “…you don’t think I really believe you work for a drug company, do you?
Now, Dex, I assure you that I have nothing whatever to do with EPIC <evil-laugh src=”muahaha.mp3″>. But like many people, I am anxious about what seems to be our current trajectory towards one mega-monopoly controlling everything. When Walmart buys McDonalds, it’s time to be
really afraid gastrointernally distressed and shabbily dressed. Technology will either hasten or forestall this process, I’m not sure which. It’s just like the universe, we don’t know which will win out, gravity or entropy…
For example, Microsoft seems to pose less of a threat now than it did a few years ago. For one thing, their anti-competitive practices are better understood by the general public. And for another, Open Source software is proving to be a viable alternative, at least it is outside of North America. Having a sufficiently tamed Microsoft out in the marketplace, may actually be a good thing, just like Maureen Dowd thinks we will all be able to like Martha Stewart again after we’ve all seen her pilloried. Google, on the other hand, is the company whose corporate motto is “don’t be evil” and yet they’ve been having moral lapses of their own lately. It’s also a lot more tempting (and possible) to be evil once you have everyone exclusively using your search engine service, your email service, your interactive map service, your satellite photo service. And (following the first law of evil thermodynamics?) we’ve even seen direct transfers of evil straight from MS to Google, namely in the Google toolbar’s AutoLink function, which seems to be descended from the MS SmartTag, which never quite made it into IE. You can look at Google Watch for all the details. And yet, Google’s anarchic approach to news aggregating seems, in the short run, to be positive, drawing people away from CCN to news sources they’ve never seen before–almost like blogging!
As for the role of Amazon, it’s another mixed bag. It’s true that they are killing independent book sellers, but we actually get something in return for this: selection. It has never been easier to order obscure titles. But more than anything, they are the anti-Walmart. Even slack-jawed yokels can use Amazon to bypass Walmart’s censoriously limited stock.
And McDonalds owns Chipotle, but of course you knew that already.
…One Ring to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them…