One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
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Big Tech companies are monsters.
Microsoft: Market Cap: $958 billion.
Amazon: Market Cap: $853 billion.
Apple: Market Cap: $840 billion.
Google: Market Cap: $727 billion.
The entire United States economy currently is $19.4 trillion. Those four companies currently represent $3.4 trillion of value. Or 17.5% of our entire national worth. Yikes.
But massive Big Tech is not immune to the law of business gravity. They can and do fail just like everyone else can and does. In fact, Big Tech’s bigness may foster additional failures not found in smaller, more focused companies. Big Tech got to be this big by doing LOTS of different things. Near-$1 trillion companies have to do TONS of different things. You can only juggle so many balls at once – sooner rather than later, you’ll begin dropping some.
“If you’re a Google user, you probably noticed some trouble last night when trying to access Google-owned services. Last night, Google reported several issues with its Cloud Platform, which made several Google sites slow or inoperable. Because of this, many of Google’s sites and services–including Gmail, G Suite, and YouTube–were slow or completely down for users in the U.S. and Europe.
“However, the Google Cloud outage also affected third-party apps and services that use Google Cloud space for hosting. Affected third-party apps and services include Discord, Snapchat, and even Apple’s iCloud services.
“But an especially annoying side effect of Google Cloud’s downtime was that Nest-branded smart home products for some users just failed to work. According to reports from Twitter, many people were unable to use their Nest thermostats, Nest smart locks, and Nest cameras during the downtime. This essentially meant that because of a cloud storage outage, people were prevented from getting inside their homes, using their AC, and monitoring their babies.”
Google has its very many tentacles into so many different things, one outage delivers damaging ripples throughout the economy. And this is by no means Google’s only problem ever. There are so many users are creating repairs themselves, rather than waiting on Google to deliver.
Now we are not absurd. We do not expect perfection from anyone down here on Earth. Errors will occur. But we do think they are more frequent per capita in bigger companies. Because massive bureaucracies don’t work whether they’re government or private. But this is yet another reminder delivered by reality: relying on but one source for everything is a terrible idea.
Anything worth doing – especially online – is worth using multiple sources. So as to provide instantaneous backup-to-the-backup access to those relying upon it.
Speaking of cloud computing…Amazon is about to land a SOLE SOURCE $10 billion contract to provide cloud backup for the entirety of the Defense Department (DoD). This contract and its bid process was once rightly and reasonably – a multiple-source bidding process. But thanks to the magic of cronyism, massive Amazon transmogrified the contract into a sole source deal. And then rigged the contract in such a way that only they met the criteria.
This is more than a mite infuriating. More important it is titanicaly stupid. Google Cloud went offline and many of their sites fell. Many other commercial sites fell. Many apps fell. Probably (tens of) thousands of Google Cloud customer websites fell. And many people lost control of much of their homes. Now imagine if Amazon’s Defense Department sole source cloud backup goes down.
Military men and women in some very dangerous places – relying on things far more important than Google Docs and Mail will be left twisting in the wind. It is not an exaggeration to say it almost certainly will cost lives. What an amazing waste that would be.
Ask any military paratrooper with how many chutes they leave a plane I guarantee you it’s more than one. The Defense Department should do something roughly similar to what we have recommended from the very beginning. Hire five companies each providing 40% of the backup. Which makes 200%. Which means two companies are duplicating each other on everything the DoD is backing up.
So when one company goes down the DoD can immediately roll over to the other. So why is the Defense Department about to sole source this contract to Amazon? Has DC become so corrupt – that cronyism trumps the lives of our servicemen and women…and the national security they are ensuring and protecting? So far DC appears to be at least that corrupt.
[Originally Published at RedState]