infrastructure

Collaboration is good. You do what you are best at and leave the rest to others. In one sense they provide the infrastructure you rely on. Yet it has not worked out this way with the BAT FANGs (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google). With their infrastructure they have captured the value. Network effects and resultant size may mean they, or their ilk, have become unstoppable. Governments are increasingly trying to tax and regulate but they may be too late. Many of the companies are bigger, and stronger financially, than the countries they reach into. Overstep and they, or more worryingly the country’s citizens, may react. A company can abandon most individual countries easily and with limited consequences. Worse though is that motivated, networked, citizens, operating outside traditional formal structures, can bring a country to its knees if they object – as President Macron is discovering with the Gilets Jaunes. Which companies persist may change – incumbents may move from operating in largely different realms to competing in winner takes all struggles and Uber is a potential entrant as it spread and dominates logistics – but will the dominance of such savvy “infrastructure” providers?

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