Masters in Business

The Big Four of Technology

Life will never be the same after Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google.

Four tech giants are changing the world for good and bad, but also inexorably. This is the premise of "The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google," by Scott Galloway, professor at New York University Stern School of Business, and this week's guest (for the third and likely last time) on our Masters in Business podcast.

Many of his ideas are thought-provoking:

  • Apple Inc. has morphed from a tech company into a luxury-goods maker, with all of the usual hallmarks: an iconic founder, artisanal craftsmanship and design, and vertical retail integration. Galloway describes founder Steve Jobs as “the modern Jesus Christ” and explains why this is not a good thing. “Voice,” he said, is the next great interface, and Apple has blown its five-year lead in this area.

  • Facebook Inc. has made many of the best acquisitions of 21st century; it owns three of the five online platforms that have gotten to 100 million users the fastest. However, Facebook's response to how its newsfeed was used for political mischief is a potential boomerang. As much as Facebook (and Google) protests, it is a media company disguised as a tech business. By taking no serious measures to combat fake news, because it would potentially hurt profits, Facebook is running the risk of seeing stringent regulations imposed on its business.

  • Amazon.com Inc.’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a game changer for everyone from supermarket chains to meal-kit delivery services, and even Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the leading food retailer. But the company also poses a potential challenge to companies in the pharmacy and banking industries.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on BloombergiTunesOvercast and Soundcloud. Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunesSoundcloudOvercast and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with John Montgomery of Bridgeway Capital Management Inc., which donates half of its incomes to nonprofit organizations.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    To contact the author of this story:
    Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor responsible for this story:
    James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net

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