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May 24, 2017 | 2 min read

Economy

This Week in Gafanomics, May 22th

“This week in GAFAnomics” features top articles from FABERNOVEL’s internal Slack discussions. Read here your weekly dose of curated news about the Network Economy.

Joachim Renaudin

Project Analyst


FABERNOVEL INNOVATE
GAFAnomics [ga-fɑː-nom-iks], noun: A modern, networked, economic system spurred by the eponymic GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) but also encompassing Unicorns, Chinese tech giants and all other companies changing our lives through computer technology.

#The week of May 22th

So what happened this week in GAFAnomics ?!

Facebook fined 122M$ by Europe

Last week the European Commission fined Facebook “proportionate and deterrent fine,” of 122M$, a record for Facebook. According to the commission, when Facebook merged with Whatsapp, it argued that it couldn’t match users identities between the two social network. Two years later, in 2016, Whatsapp changed its terms of use, making it possible to match user’s facebook identities with their Whatsapp phone number. Regulators think Facebook mislead the commission to prevent them from blocking the merger. In the new economy the rules of competition are changing as monopolies leverage their tremendous size to gather data. Apparently European antitrust policy is not willing to let american global monopolies abuse their dominant position.

A handful of private companies are building the future of the world

Five tech giants (Facebook, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft) spend as much on R&D than the whole american research budget on all scientific fields (but defense). In the field of artificial intelligence, public research isn’t anywhere near the investments of these companies. On the one hand, it’s great to see the GAFA’s progress in AI, that will likely lead to major improvements in our daily lives and for the products we buy (voice assistants, augmented reality), but on the other hand, we are leaving the future of the world in the hands of privately held companies that are focused on commercial applications of their research. If Google or Amazon are the first to develop powerful artificial intelligence, it is them who will decide how to deploy them, and whether it will benefit everyone in the society.

Amazon takes good care of its developers

 

Last week, Amazon quietly announced that developers that build the best Alexa Skills (i.e features) for Amazon’s Echo speakers will be paid. It’s the first time Amazon offers monetization to its developers community since the launch of the Echo. Just like Apple and Google are taking the utmost care of their 3rd party developers, Amazon wants to build the largest ecosystem in order to serve the best skills and attract new customers for its Alexa platform.

Are voice command assistants the next big platform? You bet! says Amazon.

Uber wants to adapt its price according to what you are willing to pay

Uber recently unveiled its new pricing strategy, which was in test phase in several cities across the US. Uber, which use to calculate price according to duration, distance and demand, added a new factor: willingness to pay. According to your behavior and the location of your trip, Uber might charge you more or less whether you chose UberX or UberPOOL. Uber uses machine learning algorithm that constantly adapt pricing and learn what the perfect price is to maximize usage and revenue for Uber.

Uber says they use “financial engineering as a competitive advantage”, I call it economic discrimination.

 

That’s all for this week, but see you next week for more news about GAFAnomics!

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