How did the Myth Buster do this year? While looking at the problems of Facebook
As the year comes to a close and new instances come to light, an algorithm will not suffice to fix Facebook’s trouble with data and privacy. However, the specter of the government cracking down on monopolies was also playing out in other arenas as discussed in the series “The Falcon Cannot Hear the Falconer.” As this year-end entry is being finalized, the Supreme Court gets ready to hear Apple vs. Pepper. The iPhone inventor is accused of acting like a monopoly. So, the tech giants are not immune from government oversight.
The tech giants do not move in lock step either. Alphabet/Google
Big Is In
In the November entry, “The Bigger They Come, The Harder They Fall,” we again picked up the theme of huge monopolies forming, including tomorrow’s giants, which are today’s high tech giants eating up artificial intelligence and cloud computing to gain total control of the digital future. We also pointed out that 2018 was a record year for massive mergers and acquisitions (M&A). And, we discovered that these M&A deals span the globe. For example, IBM
The “Ground Game Vs. Air Game” series allowed us to delve into the goings on in the battle for retail leadership between WalMart
Since the “Ground Game” series appeared, both companies are moving aggressively. As the year year ends, Amazon is finalizing its plans for two massive headquarters in New York City and Virginia supported by generous tax breaks. Amazon may also take on Uber (Private), while WalMart is pushing hard for seamless shopping and great holiday sales as well as faster delivery. Friends of the Myth Buster and pundits tend to favor Amazon, but WalMart is not backing away from the fight and the Myth Buster sees WalMart achieving success. WalMart recently enjoyed a revenue burst fueled by a 43% rise in online sales while Amazon stock dipped along with the other tech giants.
Approaching the end of the year, the market dipped, then rebounded, then dipped again. During that time, Amazon had a rocky time. Its vulnerability as seen in their 7% loss in a single day marks them as a doubtful member of the giants club. The tech giants – Microsoft, Apple
Pharmaceuticals Rebound Quickly
In the series, “Like a Patient Etherized Upon a Table,” the Myth Buster took a look at the massive medical industry and its many features. Spanning hospitals, nursing homes, pharmaceuticals and the medical profession itself, its complexity and achievements are truly impressive. New sub-specialties appear in medicine as new pharmaceuticals rise. Pfizer’s
The year has shown some topsy-turvy outcomes: High tech and low tech giants merging; huge communications and entertainment leaders joining. The massive capitalizations get a free pass while the down-to-earth market caps get the penalties. Clearly, size matters. However, Amazon’s oversized market cap has not propelled it past WalMart’s gritty brick and mortar hegemony.
The year has proven eventful and the trends we looked at are shaping the future of business sometimes in unexpected ways. Next year, we will be ready with new insights into equally challenging situations.
Michael McTague, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President at Able Global Partners in New York, a private equity firm.