US Regulators vs. Big Tech

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Ah, regulators. If you thought things in the EU were bad, wait till you hear about everything going down in the US!

The preceding week was a hotbed of news involving US regulators and tech giants. From Satya Nadella's testimony to Elon Musk's renewed rivalry with the Securities & Exchange Commission, it was all there. Oh, and a bit of AI-related developments sprinkled here and there for good measure. Here's what went down:

Microsoft's Nadella was in the news on Monday after he showed up to testify against competitor Google in a landmark U.S. antitrust trial. Basically, the U.S. government is concerned that Google wields way too much power โ€” some 90% of the search market, in fact โ€” and pays billions of dollars every year to the likes of Apple and AT&T to remain the default search engine on their devices and network, which makes it next to impossible for small guys like You, DuckDuckGo, and dare we say, Microsoft's Bing, to ever gain a foothold with consumers.

Now, Nadella's concern isn't necessarily what Google does to remain the undisputed king of search. It's how the Alphabet-owned company's actions make it difficult for his company to access the data it needs to keep growing the capabilities of generative AI, in which Microsoft is currently in the lead.

Nadella reportedly said that Microsoft was locked out of vast troves of data needed to train artificial intelligence, simply because Google had a habit of throwing money at the problem. "When I am meeting with publishers now, they say Google's going to write this check and it's exclusive and you have to match it," he reportedly said. Ouch!

An interesting tidbit from the testimony was how Apple rebuffed Microsoft's offer to let Bing become the default search engine on its devices. At the moment, Google pays for that privilege, but given Apple users' preference for Google Search, it was unlikely that Tim Cook would give Bing a chance. However, there was once chatter on Wall Street, particularly after ChatGPT became all the rage and Microsoft decided to integrate generative AI capabilities into its search engine, that even though Apple would not replace Google Search, it could use this opportunity to negotiate better terms (read: probably more monehhh) with the company.

That said, Apple not only rebuffed Microsoft's offer, it also said no to DuckDuckGo. When CEO Gabriel Weinberg approached Apple to make his privacy-oriented search engine the default choice for users who wanted to work in privacy mode on the iPhone maker's devices, the company backed out because of the payments it was receiving from Google, he said during testimony.

Furthermore, Google also reportedly prevented Samsung from shipping Android devices with a software it developed inhouse, in a move one executive described as Google's way of "buying its way to squelch competitors."

Capitalism at its finest. Amirite? ๐Ÿ˜‚

Google ranked #5 on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankingsthis week.

Google rank on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings

Google rank on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings

In Other News.. ๐Ÿ“ฐ

  • Microsoft eyes closing its giant Activision Blizzard deal next week โ€” via The Verge.
  • Google to combine generative AI chatbot with virtual assistant โ€” via Reuters.
  • Amazonโ€™s Alexa has been claiming the 2020 election was stolen โ€” via The Washington Post.
  • OpenAI said to be considering developing its own AI chips โ€” via TechCrunch.
  • Taiwan investigates firms that worked with Chinese companies reportedly supplying Huawei โ€” via CNN.
  • 23andMe investigating theft and leak of user data โ€” via Axios.
  • Sex, Signal messages and sabotage: SBFโ€™s top execs and Bahamas roommates tell all in court โ€” via CNBC.

And that's a wrap! Don't forget to share this newsletter with your family and friends! See y'all next week. PEACE! โ˜ฎ๏ธ

โ€” Sheharyar Khan, Editor, Business Tech @ HackerNoon

* All rankings are current as of time of publication. To see how the rankings have changed, please visit HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings page.

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