Critics of Big Tech are multiplying, from the left and right of the political spectrum

Critics of Big Tech are multiplying, from the left and right of the political spectrum, by Alex Webb.

In little more than a decade, Apple Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have joined Microsoft Corp. at the pinnacle of capitalism: They make up the five largest U.S. companies by market value. …

Tax avoidance — probably legal, but definitely unfair:

Amazon, the EU said, had worked out a sweetheart deal with Luxembourg that allowed it to avoid taxation on more than three-fourths of the profits it made from all Amazon sales in the EU for eight years. The EU said Ireland allowed Apple in 2011, for instance, to pay an effective tax rate of 0.05 percent.

To end some of the profit-shifting that has helped tech companies minimize their tax bills, EU leaders are considering a range of methods floated in late October by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm. They include taxing revenue rather than profits in the short term, or, in the longer term, taxing global profits. …

Apple said it held 94 percent of its total holdings — $252.3 billion in cash and marketable securities — overseas as of Sept. 30. …

Tech is an interesting clash of PC blank slate theory versus reality:

Tech’s male-dominated culture can be seen in the numbers: Women are underrepresented at almost every level. In a 2016 survey, women held about 21 percent of technical jobs, which includes hardware, software, information services and consulting, at 60 of the largest U.S. companies.

Women’s share of U.S. engineering jobs inched up to 12 percent in 2015, from 11 percent in 2000. And on average, U.S. women are paid 89 cents for every dollar a man earns in top science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) positions, Bloomberg calculations show.