I probably don’t need to tell you the markets have been on a wild ride in the wake of the
covid-19 outbreak. However, interestingly according to
Forbes during this time, many of the same companies responsible for powering the recent decade-long bull market have gained even more clout, with tech behemoths
Microsoft now accounting for over 22% of the S&P. That’s up from a 15 % share in 2018. To put that into perspective, according to New York Times tech columnist
The “frightful five” — Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook — are collectively more powerful than many governments - Farhad Manjoo
This pandemic is arguably the largest crisis of our generation, but even with a great deal of uncertainty around our ability to get out of this, it looks like big tech firms may come out of this even stronger. According to
NYU professor Scott Galloway the likes of
Amazon could gain more power by tightening their grip on the supply chain and
e-commerce, with a hundred billion dollars of grocery shopping moving online to tech giants such as
Amazon. This is obviously great news for shareholders, but not for small companies struggling to survive, furloughing or laying off staff to reduce costs. And while this corporate culling takes place, the likes of Walmart and Amazon continue to consolidate the marketplace, buying up small companies on the cheap to increase their ever expanding empire.
Make no mistake, the big tech companies, like google, have enough cash on hand to survive the pandemic. They could, should they wish, buy the likes of Boeing and Airbus. Let that sink in for a minute ! Indeed, the trend is evident already with
Giphy and investing in geo marketing, while many high street stores go into administration.
So what does a post covid-19 look like ? Well, the truth is many of these big tech companies were arguably already too powerful before the pandemic hit. They were often criticised for stifling innovation, avoiding taxes and not being held accountable when their platforms are weaponised, even when it threatens democracy. In post covid-19, when a culling of the corporate herd has taken place, there will be less companies competing for the same number of customers. Less competition is never good for citizens or the economy, especially when the few already yield so much influence and power over our lives. And worringly, that is what I think we are going to see here …
When the rains return after the culling of the herd there’s more foliage for fewer elephants