Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 12th May 2017 21:13 UTC
In the News

Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are not just the largest technology companies in the world. As I've argued repeatedly in my column, they are also becoming the most powerful companies of any kind, essentially inescapable for any consumer or business that wants to participate in the modern world. But which of the Frightful Five is most unavoidable? I ponder the question in my column this week.

But what about you? If an evil monarch forced you to choose, in what order would you give up these inescapable giants of tech?

Such a simple list for me: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft. I don't use Apple products, and Amazon isn't a thing in The Netherlands so I don't use any of its products either. I do use Facebook to keep in touch with some people abroad, but that could easily be replaced by other tools. Dumping Google would mean replacing my Android phone with something else, which isn't a big deal, and while losing Google Search and Gmail would be a far bigger problem, those, too, can be overcome. YouTube is a very big deal to me - I use it every day - so I would have to learn to do without.

Surprising to some, perhaps, Microsoft would be hardest for me to ditch, because Microsoft Office is quite important to how I earn my living. OpenOffice or LibreOffice or whatever it's called is fine if the people around you also use it, but since my entire industry is 100% Office, I can't make such a switch. Windows, too, is important to me, because it's the desktop operating system I hate the least, and quite important to me gaming-wise.

This is definitely an interesting exercise!

Order by: Score:
dump 'em all
by codifies on Fri 12th May 2017 21:37 UTC
codifies
Member since:
2014-02-14

dumped google a while ago, replacing their services with those on my VPS, without the google framework on my phone I get twice the battery life...

occasionally use ebay, less so amazon but both can easily be lived without.

the larger a corp get the less it can be trusted.

For reasons I can't exactly put my finger on I'm uncomfortable with the fact that Apple could efford to pay every single person on the planet some $30 dollars or so with their cash reserves...

Edited 2017-05-12 21:38 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Facebook, hands down.
by sergio on Fri 12th May 2017 21:52 UTC
sergio
Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't use Facebook at all and I think it's the biggest (and massive) threat to human privacy ever created.

PS: Google is almost as horrible as Facebook, but at least Google creates useful products... otoh I've never seen something useful from Facebook, they even f--ked Oculus Rift up!! OMG I hate Facebook so much haha

Edited 2017-05-12 21:52 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Facebook, hands down.
by teco.sb on Fri 12th May 2017 23:03 UTC in reply to "Facebook, hands down."
teco.sb Member since:
2014-05-08

I'm with you, I do not use Facebook. I have an account, because I moved away from home in 2008 and, at the time, needed a way to keep up with friends. However, I never really got into it. I can count in 1 hand how many times I log-in in any given year.

I don't own Apple products, so that one is also easy for me to do without.

Microsoft, I'm somewhat required to use it at work. If my hand was forced, I could just use my own laptop, though. I'm a college professor, so I get to do whatever I want.

The two hardest for me, without a doubt, would be Amazon and Google. Amazon would be marginally less difficult than Google, though. I've had my gmail account since 2002 and a lot of my life is tied to that email address.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Facebook, hands down.
by Morgan on Fri 12th May 2017 23:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Facebook, hands down."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I've had my gmail account since 2002 and a lot of my life is tied to that email address.


Huh? Gmail launched in April 2004, I remember because I got my gmail address within days of the launch date.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Facebook, hands down.
by teco.sb on Sat 13th May 2017 13:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Facebook, hands down."
teco.sb Member since:
2014-05-08

Maybe it was 2004/05, then. I guess all I really remember is that it was in college (would would put it some time between 2001 and 2005). Back in those days you could only do it by invitation, and I was so excited to have finally gotten it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Facebook, hands down.
by iswrong on Sat 13th May 2017 09:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Facebook, hands down."
iswrong Member since:
2012-07-15

I've had my gmail account since 2002 and a lot of my life is tied to that email address.


Start using a domain. It will be much easier to switch when that day comes.

(With these services, it's good to keep in mind that Google Mail could be the Yahoo or Hotmail of 2027.)

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Facebook, hands down.
by The123king on Wed 17th May 2017 13:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Facebook, hands down."
The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

I still have a yahoo email address

Reply Score: 2

RE: Facebook, hands down.
by WorknMan on Fri 12th May 2017 23:42 UTC in reply to "Facebook, hands down."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I don't use Facebook at all and I think it's the biggest (and massive) threat to human privacy ever created.


LOL, the Internet killed privacy long before Facebook was invented. Sorry to tell you, but privacy is dead, and unless the Internet goes dark permanently, it's never coming back.

Anyway, I'd first drop Facebook, then Apple. The only Apple product I have is an iPad Mini, and that's only because nobody is making small Android tablets anymore that are worth a damn. But I could use a bigger one if I absolutely had to. I could probably drop Amazon, but losing Prime would hurt, since I'm visually impaired and can't drive. Ordering from Amazon just makes things easy for me.

I'm not giving up Youtube, Google Voice, or Windows, so those are out of the question.

Edited 2017-05-12 23:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

The question ...
by ameasures on Fri 12th May 2017 21:54 UTC
ameasures
Member since:
2006-01-09

The question is not so much which one you would drop but the basis for doing so.

Am becoming increasingly aware that, even at home, if you sign into any machine then you do so with the permission of a global corporation (usually Apple or Microsoft).

There may be practical benefits to some of this; but it feels like we are all being watched by big brother.

Reply Score: 3

Probably Google
by dylansmrjones on Fri 12th May 2017 22:04 UTC
dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

Seeing I don't use any Microsoft products, nor any Apple products - and Amazon being largely relevant in Denmark, I only have Facebook and Google left. Facebook is useful for keeping contact with family and friends in distant parts of Denmark, but I can certainly do without FB. Google and its services are slightly more problematic, seeing I rely on Android, gmail (nominally), google calendar etc.

Edited 2017-05-12 22:04 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Probably Google
by acobar on Sat 13th May 2017 20:00 UTC in reply to "Probably Google"
acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

.. for keeping contact with family and friends in distant parts of Denmark ..
.

LOL, that is for sure an overstatement !! Anyway, very nice place to live, one of the best of the world if what some friends of mine told me is true. I hope I will have the opportunity to check it by myself some day.

Congrats.

Reply Score: 2

Dump em
by Alfman on Fri 12th May 2017 22:17 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

If anyone is looking to distance themselves from all the large corporations, I'd be happy to sell you my services ;)

Not everyone is aware just how much of the wealth and power goes to the very top. If everyone dumped these companies (which they won't, just hypothetically), then the demand for smaller companies like mine would instantly skyrocket ;)

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ssokolow
by ssokolow on Fri 12th May 2017 22:23 UTC
ssokolow
Member since:
2010-01-21

I'm a Linux-using programmer who takes pride in being able to count closed-source non-games on one hand, so I don't use Apple, Facebook, or Microsoft stuff.

Amazon, I only use for buying old games on Amazon Marketplace when they have a better deal than eBay.

Google, I'm whittling away at, but I never created a Google+ profile to begin with (haven't logged into YouTube since it became required to comment), my pocket device (OpenPandora) runs an ordinary Xfce desktop, and I default to DuckDuckGo for searches. (So I really only rely on Google for fallback search, Google Talk, and, most shamefully, GMail because I keep procrastinating setting up my own mail server.)

Edited 2017-05-12 22:24 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by ssokolow
by Alfman on Fri 12th May 2017 23:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by ssokolow"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ssokolow,

(So I really only rely on Google for fallback search, Google Talk, and, most shamefully, GMail because I keep procrastinating setting up my own mail server.)



Lots of VOIP providers around, it is hard to match "free" though. I use vitelity in the US.

Didn't we discuss setting up your mail server before? Haha, never happened I guess. I feel it's worth setting up your own, but them I'm hosting for several clients and domains so I have a business reason to do it. It would be harder to justify the time and energy just for one email account when free email accounts are managed for you. I was compelled to setup my own because I'm not comfortable giving data to google, even though I know technically a lot of it reaches google anyways through my associates's google accounts, unfortunately.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ssokolow
by ssokolow on Sat 13th May 2017 15:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ssokolow"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Lots of VOIP providers around, it is hard to match "free" though. I use vitelity in the US.


I don't use Google Talk for VoIP. It's just one of the few remaining Pidgin-compatible IM services that my friends in the fanfiction community have accounts on.

When I need VoIP-esque stuff, I use IM to invite friends and/or family to a transient room on appear.in (a WebRTC-based VoIP chat room site).

Didn't we discuss setting up your mail server before? Haha, never happened I guess.


Probably. My life has been a mess, to the point where, right now, my only goal is "For the love of God, fix your sleep habits for the sake of your own health!"

On the plus side, my GMail account is behind a forest of e-mail aliases I control and only Google sends directly to it, so losing GMail would only lose me messages that aren't in the Inbox or the "1000 most recent" IMAP window that Thunderbird sees of All Mail... I should probably enable POP3 for the entire message history and hang a backup cronjob off of it as a stopgap.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ssokolow
by Alfman on Sat 13th May 2017 16:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ssokolow"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ssokolow,

On the plus side, my GMail account is behind a forest of e-mail aliases I control and only Google sends directly to it, so losing GMail would only lose me messages that aren't in the Inbox or the "1000 most recent" IMAP window that Thunderbird sees of All Mail... I should probably enable POP3 for the entire message history and hang a backup cronjob off of it as a stopgap.


Can you use thunderbird's caching feature to download all the messages? Or do the emails get deleted from thunderbird when google rolls them out of the window?

Although very slow, thunderbird is a simple way to move emails between separate IMAP accounts.

Also there's tons of backend tools you might use for regular IMAP backups, including even something like this:
http://imapfs.sourceforge.net/


Probably. My life has been a mess, to the point where, right now, my only goal is "For the love of God, fix your sleep habits for the sake of your own health!"


Haha, you'd get more sleep if you outsource it to me ;) I know what you mean though.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by ssokolow
by ssokolow on Sun 14th May 2017 12:16 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ssokolow"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

Last I checked, Thunderbird expires cached stuff if it's not in the All Mail folder (It's IMAP *sync*. It assumes some other client deleted them) and I can't turn off the 1000-message windowing for some other IMAP client because Thunderbird sometimes randomly decides to re-download the entire folder.

That's why I was thinking of doing the backup via POP3. GMail IMAP and POP3 have separate configs for what they expose to a client and, as a pleasant side-effect, backup via POP3 would mean the client wouldn't have to keep track of what to ask for because, with POP3, the client delegates keeping track of un-retrieved messages to the server.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by ssokolow
by Alfman on Sun 14th May 2017 15:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ssokolow"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ssokolow,

Last I checked, Thunderbird expires cached stuff if it's not in the All Mail folder (It's IMAP *sync*. It assumes some other client deleted them) and I can't turn off the 1000-message windowing for some other IMAP client because Thunderbird sometimes randomly decides to re-download the entire folder.


I haven't tested it thoroughly, but I was thinking of the "Synchornization and Storage" panel with the "Advanced" button that opens up a dialog box that lets you select the items for caching.


That's why I was thinking of doing the backup via POP3. GMail IMAP and POP3 have separate configs for what they expose to a client and, as a pleasant side-effect, backup via POP3 would mean the client wouldn't have to keep track of what to ask for because, with POP3, the client delegates keeping track of un-retrieved messages to the server.


I have no idea because I switched to IMAP and never looked back, haha.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ssokolow
by leech on Sat 13th May 2017 16:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ssokolow"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

That's what I do, run my own email server. Been doing it for enough years that my first iteration of it was on an Abit BP6 with dual 400mhz Celerons!

Apple; Well I kind of did away with when I started using Linux for my work instead of Mac OSX (so much happier now)

Google; I try not to use any of their services, though I happen to have a bunch of stuff on the Play store to make my phone actually useful. And I'm forced to due to google docs (still wish my company didn't use it).

Microsoft; only for games.

Amazon; I'd have a hard time not using amazon, but they aren't really trying to gather data on people or anything really nefarious outside of 'we want to sell you crap' which is nice, because in the computer age, how many things do we get from the other companies that are PHYSICAL items that are YOURS to keep?

Facebook; I would totally ditch except I have a few friends on there that seem to only talk to me through there.. (yeah I should break them of that habit).

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Quikee
by Quikee on Fri 12th May 2017 22:26 UTC
Quikee
Member since:
2010-07-06

That one is easy... Oracle

Reply Score: 2

Already dropped a few
by Morgan on Fri 12th May 2017 23:11 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

My list goes like this:

1. Alphabet (Google)
2. Apple
3. Facebook
4. Microsoft
5. Amazon

I dropped all* things Google last November, after the Pixel scandal (Google irrevocably and without prior notice deleted accounts of people who resold their Pixel phones). I found that impossible to stomach; why couldn't they just suspend the Google Fi phone accounts and send a warning letter? I decided I didn't want any of my eggs in that volatile basket. I switched to Fastmail for email, and I now use a Blackberry Passport phone.

Next up is Apple. While I still like macOS and I think they are noble for defending privacy rights, they have gone off the rails in other ways. I sold my iPhone 6 a while back and gave away my last Mac (a C2D white iMac with LCD issues). I doubt I'll get another Mac or iDevice, though I'll continue to enjoy emulating Classic Mac OS and earlier for nostalgia's sake.

Facebook is tough to drop; I despise the company and its founder, but I have two things holding me to the service for now. I run a local severe weather website and it has a Facebook page with about 1200 subscribers, most of whom rely on Facebook notifications for any severe weather alerts I send out. The other reason is long distance family; my older brother (who I've never met in person) lives two states away and my oldest friend is also long distance. Facebook is how we keep in touch. That said, if I can convince either of them to switch to Twitter or another service, I can drop all of Facebook and turn the weather page over to one of my volunteers.

Microsoft makes it difficult as well; I enjoy Windows games and, for all it's flaws, Windows 10 itself is a great OS. I just wish they would cut back on the hand-holding and let us have a version of the OS we maintain control of instead of holding us hostage via the update system. A return to prominence for the Windows Phone platform would be icing on the cake, but I believe they nailed that coffin shut.

Amazon is the hardest to leave. Not only do they offer the broadest online marketplace for US customers, their streaming services and storage/cloud services are top notch too. If I ever did stop using their service, it would be for two reasons: One, the way they treat their employees is rage-inducing. I've worked for companies like that in the past, and I've written to them about their workplace policies with nothing but a form letter response. Two, if you pay for a Prime membership for the free shipping, you're getting ripped off unless you buy hundreds of dollars of merchandise every week. Most of the time they never make their two day guaranteed deadline, and you have to argue with support for several hours to get any sort of account credit or other recompense. "Guarantee" doesn't mean the same to Amazon as it does to every living human on earth, apparently.

*Technically there are still Google products in my home; my wife uses a Nexus 6 with the stock OS, and we have a Nvidia Shield TV. With the latter, I stay logged out of my Google account and side-load apps whenever possible. I'm tempted to replace it with a Steam Link and a Roku, but I don't want two devices when one suffices.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Already dropped a few
by Xodice on Fri 12th May 2017 23:26 UTC in reply to "Already dropped a few"
Xodice Member since:
2014-06-09

Just to clarify the "Google banning Pixel users accounts who sold their phone" is not quite accurate.

"Apparently a phone reseller in New Hampshire was running some kind of crowd-sourced inventory acquisition program using the consumer Google site. It instructed people to buy phones from the Project Fi site and list the dealer's NH address as their "home address" so phones would be shipped directly to the dealer. The buyers were then paid enough to make a profit on the transaction (probably helped by the fact that NH has no sales tax), and the New Hampshire dealer would later resell the phone at a markup."

On top of that the account's were un-banned.

That is a little more than just reselling a phone you bought and didn't want any longer or whatever issue you had with the phone, this is blatant scalping and against the TOS. I am not defending Google as I also do not trust them in some ways, however your statement is only half truth and misleading.

Interested readers can find out why these people where actually banned @ https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/11/google-bans-users-involved-i... or a quick search will give you some results.

I also question Apple "protecting" your privacy (or any larger organization these days), but that's a discussion I don't dare get into. ;P

Edited 2017-05-12 23:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Already dropped a few
by Morgan on Sat 13th May 2017 00:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Already dropped a few"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Just to clarify the "Google banning Pixel users accounts who sold their phone" is not quite accurate.


I get all of that, my point is more that Google flexed their gigantic muscles and showed us just how much they own their "customers". I don't want my entire digital existence to hang by any one company's thread, especially one that can so callously snip it.

Also, they did indeed delete many accounts entirely and irrevocably. There were hundreds of Google users who never got their accounts restored 100%, and some who lost literally everything for good. All of the affected users were required to appeal the decision, and if they lost the appeal or didn't do it in enough time, they were hosed.

The users violated the terms of a phone sale, not the terms of their entire Google account, but since Google ties everything together, they lost their entire accounts.

My point stands: Putting all of your digital existence in the hands of one company, especially one as soulless as Google, is just asking for a nightmare.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Sabon
by Sabon on Fri 12th May 2017 23:45 UTC
Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple - While MacOS and iOS have quite a few things that I would change, that is maybe 1/100 or 1/1000 of the number of changes that I would make to Windows and Android. So the choice on both are easy there.

Microsoft - I support their products at work. But I also support Apple products at work. Unfortunately I could refuse to support Apple and they wouldn't be upset. But I would get fired if I said I wouldn't support MS products anymore. But then we have a CTO that came from Microsoft. The funny thing is that I get more support budget wise for supporting Apple products than anyone else in management would be willing to give me.

Microsoft 2 - The first part was work related. As for home or away from work. I don't and won't support use or support any MS products. I'm MS free once I leave work. That includes Office, Skype, etc.

Facebook I don't even use except for rare cases (once every 6 months) where I need app support for an app that only gives support in Facebook.

Google is easy as I use DuckDuckGo but that uses Google behind the scenes...right? So I guess that doesn't really count as dropping them. But I don't use any of their other products.

Amazon - While I live in the Seattle area I have always believed in not shopping in any store that is bigger than medium sized. Yes I fail when it comes to Apple but I went with Apple for computers when everyone thought they were going bankrupt so I feel I should get a pass on that. And I never was a heavy Amazon shopper in the first place.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ronaldst
by ronaldst on Sat 13th May 2017 00:25 UTC
ronaldst
Member since:
2005-06-29

I would rate these two at the top:
1. Twitter (aka vertical 4chan). It is pure waste of internet bandwidth. Site is being self-destroyed by censorship.
2. Facebook. I have one but I rarely post. I get mostly game chances requests by family members that I rarely see. Most things like FB Marketplace are US only. Also politically censored.

Google. I would but I am stuck in their ecosystem. ChromeOS and gmail. But I will forever remember them for meddling in american elections, stifling democracy. I knew they have lobbyists. But never thought it was that corrupt.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by ronaldst
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 15th May 2017 13:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by ronaldst"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Twitter (aka vertical 4chan). It is pure waste of internet bandwidth. Site is being self-destroyed by censorship.


Well, hell the internet is a waste of internet bandwidth. If you think its being destroyed by censorship, I have an investment opportunity for you...

Reply Score: 2

Prefer not to get locked into one
by alphaseinor on Sat 13th May 2017 01:20 UTC
alphaseinor
Member since:
2012-01-11

I've almost always had more than one type of computer, from Color Computers, and the old XT clone, all the way to my Amiga, then to my Apple clone BeOS box, and slackware on my P133, then eventually following the line up to Linux Mint, windows, and MacOS X, and other boxes running on VM

The ransomware cyber attack today only proves you shouldn't pigeonhole yourself into one platform.

As for which one to get rid of... all have their merits to drop permanently.

Reply Score: 1

The123king Member since:
2009-05-28

My day-to-day machine is a Macbook Air on MacOS Sierra. My gaming rig runs Win7. My classic mac is web-enabled and currently runs 8.6 (though will soon be running a BeOS/Mac OS 9/Mac OS X Tiger triple boot). I also have a few Amiga's and other machines, but nothing particularly web-aware, except the standard pile of PC's every geek has.

If the defecation hits the oscillation, i think i'll still be able to get some form of web connectivity xD

Edited 2017-05-17 13:48 UTC

Reply Score: 2

In order I guess
by AaronMiller on Sat 13th May 2017 02:17 UTC
AaronMiller
Member since:
2011-05-23

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple.

Facebook first. I actively avoid it. Had an account, which was a mistake. Closed the account and never looked back.

Google second. Although I have an Android device and use gmail and their search engine, it's not like alternative services aren't reasonably good enough. iOS would be a fine replacement for Android, though I'd miss certain features. I only occasionally use Chrome and can live completely without it.

Microsoft third. The only game I really play on Windows is osu, but that vaguely sorta kinda works barely on other operating systems, so I guess that's fine. Outside of that I'd miss Visual Studio (and no VSCode is nothing like it, though I do use that extensively too).

Amazon fourth. I make extensive use of Prime and do all sorts of shopping on there. Lots of difficult to find stuff here and a bit more reliable (and enjoyable) than, e.g., ebay. I don't use any of their consumer tech stuff though. Alexa? Fire? Echo? I just really don't care about any of that stuff.

Apple last. Of all the operating systems I use, macOS is the one I take the least issue with. That doesn't mean that I think it's superior in any way to GNU/Linux, Windows, etc. I just mean that I personally prefer using it. Some of the stances the company has taken I've agreed with more than some of the other tech giants as well.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by judgen
by judgen on Sat 13th May 2017 07:04 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Oracle Twitter.

I do not own an smartphone.
I do not have a facebook, i never use any google product other than their youtube site. I refuse to read twitters. For work I run linux and aros on a asus rog laptop so i use no microsoft products or services either. Amazon is not available where i live so that is not a problem either. The only apple product i own is a powerbook 5.2 17" running debian (and in he future morphos when wifi works). My main computers are various amiga systems that i enjoy very much.

Reply Score: 2

yerverluvinunclebert
Member since:
2014-05-03

ReactOS is really getting close to a point where you can use it, Open Office/Libre Office on ReactOS will be your solution - but not just yet!

Reply Score: 1

Trying to drop all of them
by Wondercool on Sat 13th May 2017 08:46 UTC
Wondercool
Member since:
2005-07-08

I could drop all of them and have dropped most of them over the years except Amazon.

Facebook, I don't use it.

I do own a 2nd hand Mac Mini G4 but haven't used it as the replacement power supply is 40 euro even on Aliexpress because of Apples customer friendly design. So really I don't use Apple.

Google is and was the hardest by far. I moved my Gmail account to Fastmail, after a tip here. (Luckily I always had my reply-to to my own domain, no big issues with moving). Fastmail is *better* than Gmail in every respect, it was a pleasant migration. For Maps I use Bing or Here maps on mobile. I bought 3 laptops with ChromeOS over time and immediately put Linux on them, The hardest is your Android phone. I buy China phones and install LineageOS on them but there are a couple of (banking) apps I couldn't miss. That's why I do install Google Apps (minimal), download the apps and disable Google services on my phone (20 percent better battery life, i am not kidding!!). None of my apps have ads in them, I won't buy them if they display ads.

All Facebook domains are blacklisted in my browser and most Google ones (and Twitter and LinkedIn).

I haven't used Microsoft at home much but still have it. My wife uses it and I do occasionally boot into it for Steam games. But even there most of my games run on Linux and I actively try to buy only games that run on Linux. It is getting harder to buy A games for Linux compared to 3 years ago for some reason. I deleted my LinkedIn account when Microsoft bought it but I would have done that anyway. I really liked their phone os but they started spying there too (like Windows 10).

About 10-20 items a year are ordered via Amazon, but my wife has a book subscription. I can easily order elsewhere though.

For me it is more a "what company would you like to drop most?" question and it would be in this order:
Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Amazon.

Reply Score: 2

birdie
by birdie on Sat 13th May 2017 09:07 UTC
birdie
Member since:
2014-07-15

I wouldn't drop Apple or Facebook because I don't use any of their products. So there's nothing to drop.

Meanwhile Google Search and Android are irreplaceable.

And I do play games created for Windows exclusively, so I cannot live without Microsoft either.

I'm ambivalent towards Amazon.

Edited 2017-05-13 09:09 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Interesting question
by iswrong on Sat 13th May 2017 09:13 UTC
iswrong
Member since:
2012-07-15

From easiest to hardest to drop:

1. Facebook: I still have an account, but wiped all my posts. So, there is not much there for me anymore anyway.

2. Amazon: we use Amazon a lot. But if we had to drop them, I guess we just ordered stuff elsewhere. No big loss. Besides, they have been going down the drain with co-mingling/counterfeit products anyway.

3. Google: I already moved from Google Apps to Fastmail a while ago. I currently only use Google Search and Google Scholar. I guess I could adjust to DuckDuckGo or some other competitor. Google Scholar is extremely convenient, but many papers can be found through Arxiv, ACM, etc. as well.

4. Microsoft: now it gets tougher. A lot of documents at work are in some Office format. If I had to drop Microsoft products it would be a annoying. I could use iWork or LibreOffice, but conversion hell.

5. Apple: I use a MacBook and an iPhone as my main computing devices. So, leaving Apple would be extremely painful. Not impossible, I have used Linux and BSDs from 1994 to 2007 and I live in the terminal or a text editor 90% of the time, so switching to Linux on the desktop would be possible. On the phone front, I would probably switch to a dumb phone. Android is too insecure for me and Google collects to much data for the wrong reasons. Then I'd rather not have a smartphone at all and use a laptop for calendaring, e-mail, secure chat, etc.

Related observation: it seems that privacy is only for tech experts (Linux/BSD) and the rich (Apple) these days, given that Windows and Android are sucking up as much user data as possible.

Edited 2017-05-13 09:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Amazon and MS are the unavoidable ones
by dimajix on Sat 13th May 2017 09:25 UTC
dimajix
Member since:
2012-02-18

I have a feeling that most of you think of all companies from the end-users point of view. But in reality Amazon is number one cloud computing provider and MS still plays an important role in business. Without AWS many internet services wouldn't exist any more, so the impact of Amazon being shut down would be really big.

Apple only has fancy gadgets and computers and no business relevance at all. It can be simply replaced.

Facebook is an important marketing channel, but the Internet and business wouldn't break either if it went away tomorrow.

With google I don't now - they also have cloud offerings and products geared towards business. I guess if they pulled their plug the impact would be larger than if Apple or Facebook disappeared over night.

Reply Score: 3

Troels Member since:
2005-07-11

I was wondering if I could go through the entire comment thread without anyone seeing the big picture.

Amazon is taking over the world at am astonishing pace, and it seems to fly under the radar for most people.

If Amazon went away tomorrow so does Netflix, Dropbox, and Uber, just to name a few high profile companies everyone has heard of. With their govcloud, even some us government functions would be screwed.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

dimajix,

I have a feeling that most of you think of all companies from the end-users point of view. But in reality Amazon is number one cloud computing provider and MS still plays an important role in business. Without AWS many internet services wouldn't exist any more, so the impact of Amazon being shut down would be really big.


I know very much what you are talking about. These kinds of services are what I was referring to in my earlier post. It's not that smaller companies couldn't deliver the same services (even API compatible), the problem for us is that it's very difficult to compete against the incumbents given their control and resources. But if the billionaire companies were to disappear for some reason, then it would open up great market opportunities we haven't seen since those companies became incumbents.

Why isn't anyone mentioning intel? Far more than any of the other companies mentioned, loosing the CPU fabs would have the potential to set us back decades.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by oiaohm
by oiaohm on Sat 13th May 2017 09:42 UTC
oiaohm
Member since:
2009-05-30

Really I cannot justify being without Libreoffice due to having to open archived documents. There are many old versions of MS Office documents that will not open in the current edition of MS office.

Now someone not knowing the difference between OpenOffice and Libreoffice shows that they have not compared what they can do. Libreoffice has the support for opening legacy formations that MS Office cannot open any more.

So MS Office cannot replace Libreoffice and Libreoffice cannot 100 percent replace MS Office. So you should have both for the most support.

Reply Score: 5

Amazon
by reez on Sat 13th May 2017 11:22 UTC
reez
Member since:
2006-06-28

Based on how much I dislike Facebook for countless reasons, I think based on pure evilness Amazon wins. It also wins by harm done to the world, etc.

Okay, so, of course I mean being anti-social and how far a company goes to maximize profit. And here I of course take into account practices that are already implemented.

Of course they all wanna maximize profit, don't care about morale implications, probably don't even try to be evil, etc.

Reply Score: 2

Interesting read
by KenP on Sat 13th May 2017 12:03 UTC
KenP
Member since:
2009-07-28

... of the comments, I mean.

Strangely, nobody seems to mind Microsoft lock-in! Be it gaming, or office or just because, it seems inertia is the biggest driver here and nobody seems to find that frightening ;)

For me, its been MS-free for over a decade now -- even at work, I'll use their products only if forced to. If I can find an alternative for an application, I use it.

Btw, just a footnote: MS is forcing bing down our throats so you can't change the search engine at all. Google it, ha!

Also found it strange that nobody feels Microsoft is spying on them ... hmm must be one heck of a marketing and ad agency they use.

Second worst is Apple, IMO.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Interesting read
by leech on Sat 13th May 2017 16:35 UTC in reply to "Interesting read"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

... of the comments, I mean.

Strangely, nobody seems to mind Microsoft lock-in! Be it gaming, or office or just because, it seems inertia is the biggest driver here and nobody seems to find that frightening ;)

For me, its been MS-free for over a decade now -- even at work, I'll use their products only if forced to. If I can find an alternative for an application, I use it.

Btw, just a footnote: MS is forcing bing down our throats so you can't change the search engine at all. Google it, ha!

Also found it strange that nobody feels Microsoft is spying on them ... hmm must be one heck of a marketing and ad agency they use.

Second worst is Apple, IMO.


How could they not think MS is spying on them? I'm personally attempting to get as many people over to Desktop Linux and I keep testing SteamVR on Linux to see if I can get completely away from MS... other than that, I firewall the crap out of my network and block so many things...

Reply Score: 2

Hardest to replace
by boing on Sun 14th May 2017 07:39 UTC
boing
Member since:
2007-05-22

I think the hardest to replace are the companies that have the most important applications built for their operating systems for ones day to day business, which in most circumstances comes down to Microsoft (Windows and Office), Google (Android), and Apple (iOS and MacOS X). Besides those, most can be replaced.

1. Alphabet (Google) - If you don't like Android, then your probably using iOS. There are other search engines and email providers to use.

2. Apple - If you don't like iOS your probably using Android.

3. Facebook - Use other social networks and chat systems, there are several other options. Since most people are on Facebook they use that as their starting point.

4. Microsoft - If you don't like Windows and Office use Mac OS X and Libre Office.

5. Amazon - Go buy your stuff elsewhere. For the people saying AWS provides Netflix etc, if AWS didn't exist they would be using another cloud provider (Azure, Google, Rackspace, VMware, etc..). I am sure they could easily migrate their operations into another cloud based system.

I personally chose Windows 10 because just about every application is available and works for the OS, and like others said Windows 10 is not that bad if the telemetry stuff is not a concern for you (if your that paranoid you will probably use Linux). I actually have Windows 10 installed on a Macbook Pro after Apple refuses to fix a bug in their OS that randomly turns my external monitor off and on at random times on a fresh os install, while Windows 10 doesn't do this. I actually setup the same software on both OS (dual boot) and used both in the same way, and found Windows 10 just was faster and more reliable then Mac OS X on my Macbook Pro. I am sure this is mostly due to software just being more optimized for Windows overall (for example Chrome and Opera using PGO).

For my phone I went with Android because it has all the major apps I require, and I had more choices on phone types then the few iPhones to choose from. So Android phones gave me more choice based on types of phones and cost ranges.

Everything thing else except Windows and Android could easily be replaced if I so wanted. Yes I could replace Windows with Mac OS X since my primary apps are available for both (Linux lacks the apps I require), I tried that and found Windows 10 better. Yes I could choose Apple over Android since my apps are on both, but with Android I had more freedom in phone choice, price, and had access to applications that were restricted on the Apple Store like emulators (I didn't want to jail break my phone to bypass).

So in the end what apps you use determines your OS choices, and your OS is going to be the hardest thing for you to replace. If your lucky and all the apps you use are websites, then any OS for any device would work equally, so you have much great options. For most people with specific apps needs, then it boils down to Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by ichi
by ichi on Sun 14th May 2017 13:21 UTC
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

I don't use anything from Amazon or Apple.

I don't use almost anything Microsoft either, other than sometimes Office at work, but that's not a significant part of my job and I could replace it with something else (I'd just need something to write documentation and save it in a format that the customer can read, eg. pdf).

Regarding Google I could probably replace all the services I use with something else. The biggest problem would be, same as when you physically move to a new address, updating my contact information on every relevant place.

I have no Facebook account, but as they bought Whatsapp and that's the de-facto IM standard over here, ditching that would be a major PITA that would turn me into a digital outcast.

Reply Score: 2

yep
by rener on Sun 14th May 2017 19:39 UTC
rener
Member since:
2006-02-27

I don't really really rely on any of them either, don't need any and would just continue using my T2/Linux et all for daily work, fun and profit: https://t2-project.org ;-)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by joekiser
by joekiser on Mon 15th May 2017 02:00 UTC
joekiser
Member since:
2005-06-30

1) Microsoft - Dropped as a primary OS when I was about 13. Used off and on over the years for software development. I actually bought a Windows 10 license this year for a distributed computing build, but it just sits in the closet crunching away.
2) Facebook - Dropped in 2010 when it started getting stupid. It was actually cool a long time ago, as it was based around University communities, and helped me find new friends. These days it's just to double-down on people you already know and find reasons not to make friends. Kinda the opposite of where it started.
3) Google - Currently trying to drop. They have my phone number tied to Voice, once I get that ported away, I'm deleting my account. I've already deleted Android, GMail, Google Search, Youtube, and Play Music from my life. Censor that fake news.
4) Amazon - They deliver to me anywhere in the world, so Prime is worth the price of admission. Cannot part with them, although they are testing my patience by banning VPNs from watching content.
5) Apple - My phone, and everything my wife does. All of our recent photos are in iCloud territory now. I use Apple Play Music and Apple Pay. Cannot part with them.

Reply Score: 2

Pretty easy...
by gan17 on Mon 15th May 2017 18:29 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

1. Facebook
Modern day equivalent of the bubonic plague. Already don't use any of their services or related companies. Blacklisted at router level in my house.

2. Microsoft
Don't use or need any of their services either. Some of the web services I use might employ Azure though, hence the higher placement vs Facebook.

3. Amazon
Shopped from them a few times (though delivery costs to my country mean their prices aren't quite as competitive compared to other regional stores). The rest of what they offer - Kindle, Prime, Alexa, etc - isn't even an option in my part of the world. Some of the sites and web services I use might employ AWS.

4. Alphabet/Google
Android's dead to me as far as smartphones go. I do have a long running Gmail account - not work related, but still rather inconvenient to get rid of. Search and Youtube are the two others I use often. Surely a lot of other services/backends of theirs I depend on without realizing.

5. Courageous C*nts Inc (aka Apple)
As much as I despise their pricing and jack/port killing practices (along with their bad taste in headphone companies), I have to admit my computing would be a lot more painful without them. iOS is still the better mobile experience for my needs, and I'm just more comfortable running MacOS for my work related applications.

Edited 2017-05-15 18:31 UTC

Reply Score: 2

yahoo
by eydaimon on Mon 15th May 2017 22:32 UTC
eydaimon
Member since:
2006-03-22

looks like you dropped Yahoo! already 😂 not even mentioned anymore. AOL too

Reply Score: 1

Apple
by nicubunu on Tue 16th May 2017 06:01 UTC
nicubunu
Member since:
2014-01-08

My first answer would be Apple, but it will probably won't be a good answer: I can't dump Apple since I *never* used any of their products (except for QuickTime for a brief time in the 90'ies, when it happened to stumble upon a .mov file, for which was not an alternate player).

Then it would be Amazon: for buying stuff they are NOT a great option here in East Europe, delivery takes a long while and the prices are not great. For AWS, I don't use it myself, have a single client with really low use of it.

On the 'wishful thinking' list would be Microsoft, but ain't gonna happen until I phase out completely any IT support activity from my freelancing activity.

Reply Score: 2