This has been a turbulent stretch for a lot of tech companies. Between Facebook, Tesla, Google, Amazon, and automated vehicles my news feed has been on fire. It seems like everyday I am reading about an investigation going on with one of the tech giants.
To start Facebook has been the center of the controversies after reports of Cambridge Analytica collecting data from Facebook to send political ads. This caused a rift as many Facebook users are angry that their data was used without getting their consent. This controversy has lead to a deep mistrust for Facebook. Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, will be appearing on capitol hill to answer questions on the matter. This was not the first time Facebook has been in the spotlight for collecting data on people. (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/428150/what-facebook-knows/).
Automated vehicles have been in the news after the fatal death of a pedestrian as a result of an automated Uber (Uber Takes A Step Back From Its Driverless Program). As a result of the incident their have been several companies distancing themselves from autonomous vehicles until after the investigation. This comes after CES where tech companies were lined up around autonomous vehicles filling the roads in the next 5-10 years.
Tesla has been in the news for more bad things than good as of late. Despite making achievements in building all electric vehicles that not only look good, but are able to travel more miles on a charge and making waves to reduce emissions. Unfortunately we have to also point out to Tesla being behind on model 3 fulfillments, something that caused shareholders concern. But if that was not enough cause for alarm, the recall of the Model S will definitely cause share prices to drop. The recall is due to corrosion being found on the power steering bolts, noticeable in colder climates exposed to road salts. Failure of this bolt will make for difficulty in steering, especially at slower speeds. And on top of that Tesla is in the middle of a NTSB investigation of a fatal crash involving the Model X in California. The crash took place while the driver was using the autopilot system, a feature found on many other Tesla vehicles. The results of this investigation could change the course of the vehicle assistant software in the industry.
Besides dealing with employee harassment claims, Google just lost the ruling to Oracle in a patent suit. The ongoing suit was going on since 2012 and the latest ruling ruled in favor of Oracle that Google infringed on Oracle’s property involving Java and how it resulted in Google’s app development. The suit could result in Google loosing over 8 billion dollars. Right now Google is appealing this ruling as the debate over what is open for fair use and what is intellectual continues.
And the final company in the spotlight is Amazon as their ongoing dispute with President Trump continues. President Trump called out Amazon for paying little taxes and hurting retailers and small businesses. And the irony of it all is Former Walmart CEO chiming in wanting the government to split of Amazon because they are destroying jobs. Out of all the companies I have talked about in this article Amazon would gladly take this issue over what the other companies are facing. Though you can not deny that Amazon is changing how people shop and it is resulting in the closing of retailers (Down goes another iconic company from my childhood.), this is the natural progression of the market. Similar to what resulted in streaming services and Redbox killing Blockbusters and Walmart killing mom and pop businesses. Amazon will have their time in the sun until another company finds a way to provide goods and services faster, cheaper, and better than what Amazon is able to do. Until then Amazon is reigning supreme and are continue to evolve their product from text book rental company to selling everything under the sun as long as it is not a Google product.