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Sep 27, 2017 | 2 min read

Economy

This Week in GAFAnomics, September 27th

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

Joachim Renaudin

Project Analyst


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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 September 27th

So what happened this week in GAFAnomics ?!

End of the ride for Uber in London

Last Friday, London’s transport regulator rejected Uber’s request to renew its license to operate. The authority stated that Uber is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license”, because it failed to report some criminal offenses and properly carry background checks. Its use of Greyball, a software preventing officials from accessing the app for law enforcement matters is a further offense. Uber will naturally challenge this decision as it will otherwise have to cease operations on September 30th.

London is one of Uber’s largest markets, with over 2-Million clients, and 40,000 drivers. Uber’s network effects and first settler advantage gave it a dominant position in London, preventing competitors from capturing market share. In the age of digital monopolies, working hand in hand with public authorities and playing by the rules will prove to be key in staying in the lead.

Google x HTC

Last week, Google announced that it was acquiring a team of 2000 smartphone engineers from HTC, in a $1,1Bn deal. The team that will join Google is the same that helped build the Pixel Phone, thus bringing hardware expertise in-house.

Over the last five years, Google has emphasized its focus on consumer devices (Nest, Chromecast, Pixel phone, Google Home), with no major success. This move can be seen as an attempt from Google to gain more control of its smartphone ecosystem and Android experience by developing fully in-house smartphones. In the near future, we will likely see great features developed on Android, available first or only on Pixel phones. In an Apple-like strategy, Google will use great software and features to sell more hardware devices.

Facebook and Amazon want to eat TV

Next week, the first NFL game of the season will be broadcasted on Amazon’s Prime Video platform. Earlier this year, Facebook has struck deals to broadcast Mexican soccer league matches, and is rumored to be betting for Premier League and Champions League rights in the upcoming years. Tech giants (Google, Amazon and Facebook ahead), are increasingly fighting for exclusive live sports content in order to engage their audience. After eating part of TV’s advertising revenues, Tech giants are ready to eat TV as a whole. For Facebook, it might be hard to monetize the audience and pay back the investment in the broadcasting rights, as users freely access the platform and the company relies on advertising. Amazon’s strategy is very different: as the content will be restricted to Prime members, it’s trying to drive new prime subscriptions thanks to exclusive live sports content.

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