Big Tech split leads to demise of Internet Association

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Increasing tensions between Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, and Apple, according to insiders and industry observers, are behind the death of the Internet Association (IA), a nine-year-old lobby group that made Big Tech’s voice in Washington. It is in.

A Washington-based group dubbed the “unified” voice of the Internet industry Closed at the end of the year Especially after both Microsoft and Uber withdrew their financial support, they left an insurmountable financial gap.

“Our industry has undergone tremendous growth and change,” he said in a statement, adding that the closure is “in line with this evolution.”

According to observers, the closure is a sign of increasingly different policy goals for Big Tech members, with Microsoft in particular aiming to stay away from its Silicon Valley peers.

“We realized that Microsoft didn’t want to have a relationship with Google, Facebook, or Amazon,” said Barrylin, executive director of the Open Markets Institute, an antitrust campaign group. “It’s really, really easy.”

Many small tech companies were also dissatisfied with their priorities conflicting with the Big Tech agenda.

“The organization could have saved itself many years ago by driving out everyone with a market capitalization of over $ 500 billion.” Tweet Luther Rowe, Head of Public Policy at Yelp. Yelp left the association in 2019. “I made this proposal to leadership a few years ago, but it was shot down and we quit.”

Those familiar with Microsoft’s decision-making said Microsoft no longer sees the value of money in its involvement with IA. Membership fees are calculated based on income and according to the size of the company.

Ann Previous report At Politico’s suggestion, Microsoft, the largest contributor, pays up to $ 800,000 to $ 1 million annually. Microsoft declined to comment.

Despite being the second most valuable technology group in the United States, Microsoft was able to dodge the latest focus on antitrust law in Congress. Unlike the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella was excluded from the big-hit Congressional hearing in July 2020, and others were summoned on a long grill.

Microsoft is also not the focus of the actions announced by President Joe Biden. Revitalization of the Federal Trade Commission..

The company, which was on the verge of dissolution after scrutiny of antitrust laws in the early 2000s, now boasts a more collaborative approach with regulatory agencies. An internal memo sent to staff by Microsoft President Brad Smith in June outlines the company’s strategy.

“There will be many days when some people in the tech department will complain loudly about regulatory risks,” read a note shared by the company with FT. “There are real risks and fair hearing is needed. But as a company, we continue to focus on adapting to regulation rather than fighting it.”

Lin said Microsoft is keen to stay away from its rivals. They don’t want their emails read, and they don’t have to go through discoveries. “

According to Open Secrets, a database based on Senate records, Microsoft lags behind Amazon and Google in 2021 lobbying.

Amazon was the most active, spending $ 15.3 million in the first three quarters of the year, compared to $ 9 million for Google and $ 7.8 million for Microsoft. This number does not include donations to industry groups such as the Internet Association.

Meanwhile, other big tech companies have “vested interests” in getting Microsoft involved in antitrust debates, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said. “If Microsoft remains untouched by antitrust issues, Amazon and Google will be clearly at a disadvantage, especially in terms of 2022 M & A,” he said.

Someone familiar with high-level discussions at Amazon complains that the company’s new CEO Andy Jassy isn’t looking at his rivals in more detail by regulators. Said.

“Andy Jassy is crazy about Microsoft,” he said. “His internal copy said,” They are still doing bad things, so they should chase after Microsoft. “

Amazon disputed the characterization of Jasie’s view. But a spokesman said the company feels that Microsoft “should be scrutinized like any other business.”

In Europe, Amazon-backed cloud computing industry groups have repeatedly targeted Microsoft for what they consider to be uncompetitive licensing agreements surrounding “enterprise software,” such as Microsoft’s office suites.

European cloud infrastructure service providers said the next digital market law proposed by the EU would be a “historic failure” if it couldn’t cover software providers.

“Legacy software providers must be recognized as gatekeepers, and these practices are outlawed, so European companies are clearly costly and time-consuming legal action to counter anti-competitive practices. I am forced to take it, “the group said in a statement at the time.

Meanwhile, research jointly commissioned with Google Release According to the Computer & Communications Industry Association in September, 85% of the productivity software used by US government agencies is declared to be made by Microsoft.

The report’s author, Tim Banting, warns: To the US government for future cyber attacks and national security incidents. “

Google refused to comment on lobbying tactics.

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