Glamour wears off as tech giants’ dirty little secrets revealed

Glamour wears off as tech giants’ dirty little secrets revealed, by Andrew White.

Even a grizzled veteran of business power plays and customer abuses can still be shocked. Rod Sims surfaced yesterday after a deep dive into the all-conquering global tech giants to say he was surprised at what he found. …

Sims’s 619-page final report into the digital platforms arrived with a metaphorical thud yesterday and the Australian Competi­tion & Consumer Commission boss is betting its 23 recommendations covering consumers, competition and the media will be far-reaching and ­reverberate not just in Canberra but around the world. …

Australia has been at the forefront of the pushback against the tech giants, with Sims commissioned 18 months ago by then treasurer Scott Morrison to ­investigate the industry …

In Australia, for every $100 spent by advertisers online — ­excluding classifieds — $47 goes to Google, $24 to Facebook and the rest of the media industry scraps over the rest. That’s a huge share of the esti­mated $9 billion market that has grown more than eightfold since 2005, much of it by taking share formerly held by traditional media.

The ACCC found more than 98 per cent of online searches on mobile devices are with Google, while Facebook had about 17 million Australians checking in for half an hour every day. …

Australia too

Shopping patterns, browsing history, location and personal data, such as the size of your family or your relationship status, are there to be collected, aggregated, sliced and diced and auctioned to the highest bidder. “The world has never before seen so much commercially sensitive and personal data collected and aggregated in just two companies,” [Treasurer Josh] Frydenberg says. “Our legislative and regulatory framework could not and did not anticipate such a new paradigm, a paradigm which poses real ­challenges for authorities the world over.” …

Meanwhile Alphabet, the parent company of Google, posted quarterly results that showed it beat brokers estimates by $US900 million ($1.3 billion). Its ­advertising revenue jumped by 16 per cent.

It was a stark reminder of just how rich and powerful the tech ­giants have become that their ­results are untouched by the extraordinary level of global attention their businesses now attract.

Commenter Terry:

I hope this leads to an end to foreign sellers being allowed to represent themselves as being in Australia while undercutting all Australian business and avoiding all consumer, import and other federal and state legal compliance which is applied to Australians online.