The Amusing Antics of Big Tech Monopoly-Type Companies

May 13, 2021

If I use my imagination, I can hear the comments in the TV room of a fraternity house near the Chambana campus of the University of Illinois. “Dudes, we can make the losers at Sigma Nu look really stupid.” Then the snort, snort, snort of perceived victory over lesser beings.

I thought about this hypothetical bro-moment when I read two stories this morning.

The first is “Microsoft Edge Blocks Firefox Installer, Says It’ll Hurt Your PC.” Firefox has had its share of challenges. There’s the money thing, the management thing, and the number of users thing. Microsoft, the all-time leader in security, has determined that Firefox is allegedly a danger. The write up reports:

“Firefox Installer.exe was blocked because it could harm your device,” the warning read, with users only able to click through to see more details rather than continue the download. Techdows says that all versions of the Firefox Installer, including release, beta, dev, and nightly, appear to be affected, with multiple Reddit threads detailing download issues. Some users were able to download and install Firefox using Edge after disabling Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, a program.

That seems like a predictable response from those who have witnessed commentary in the hypothetical frat house.

The second is “Google: We Put YouTube TV in the Main YouTube App. What Now, Roku?” The idea is that Roku, the hardworking salary man of online video, is going to be reminded that the Google is the top dog. The write up states:

Google announced in a blog post that it was just going to run an end-around on Roku and stick the YouTube TV app in the YouTube app.

No one fools around with Mother Google.

What do these frat mentality actions by two large companies tell us? Perhaps these are routine business practices in the regulation and consequence free datasphere of 2021? Could these actions indicate that fraternity type thinking remains a core part of the technology world in the US? Or is there a darker implication; for instance, these actions are perceived as just what has to be done to ensure that big outfits get larger?

From my point of view, I find the frat-style a reminder that what characterizes those in extended adolescence appears to be the warp and woof of high technology: Competitive products are harmful or too stupid to cope with Googley reality.

Stephen E Arnold, May 13, 2021

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