In early 2023, amid a seeming market correction that could send the world into a full-blown recession, Big Tech once again finds itself in the crosshairs of criticism, bad news and regulatory actions.
Does this sound familiar? If you’ve been following the industry long enough, it should. No matter how much the world’s biggest, most prominent tech companies try to portray themselves as economically resilient and morally superior to more traditional industries (which, in 2023, are also major tech employers), they have weathered storms for as long as they’ve been changing our world.
Take the antitrust case against Microsoft in the mid-1990s, almost three decades before the Federal Trade Commission took the company’s attempted takeover of Activision to task. Or the net neutrality battles of the mid-2010s, which arguably underscored the case for more equitable internet access that infuses broadband infrastructure investments throughout the country. Or even the dot-com bubble bursting in 2000, thus demonstrating the fallibility of even emerging economies in times of economic transition.
These companies’ omnipresence (I mean, I am definitely typing this article on a Microsoft keyboard hooked up to a MacBook) and ability to act like the industrial titans of yore is perhaps a foregone conclusion. Still, this moment still feels markedly different. That probably has to do with the ways we at Technical.ly have seen these Big Tech companies — which we partly define as the MAMAA or Big Five companies, along with peers like Twitter — interact with the cities and regions we principally cover. Meta, like other Big Tech companies, maintains offices and pursues tech innovation in Pittsburgh. Amazon invested in the DC metro by putting its long-awaited HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia. All of the biggest companies are incorporated in Delaware. Moreover, thanks to the pandemic-borne remote work boom, developers, project managers and engineers throughout our core markets have moved in and out of positions with these truly global companies.
So as these companies keep laying workers off and getting sued by the government, we know the effects will trickle down to the people and companies within our geographies. We’ll explore the fallout of these developments, and so much more, throughout February, which is Big Tech + You Month in our 2023 editorial calendar.
We’ve already published a resource guide for keeping track of all the Big Tech headlines beyond us. Otherwise, you can expect articles and commentary about the myriad of good, bad and neutral ways big tech companies show up in our markets. Anticipate coverage that pierces the veil of Big Tech and illuminates how companies across industries as varied as entertainment, finance and telecommunications (including, to be frank, several of our clients and sponsors) employ tech workers — and what recession fears mean for all of that.
On that note, as a publication guided by an understanding that communities matter to local and global tech ecosystems alike, we seek your help to make our coverage as strong as possible. Are you a current or former employee of a Big Tech company, or even a big company that employs a lot of technologists? Know of an expert who can speak to these companies’ impacts on Philadelphia, Delaware, Baltimore, DC or Pittsburgh? Have thoughts about what any of this means for your livelihoods? If so, we’d love to hear from you.
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