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!