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The Breakup of Tech Giants

Effect on College Lifestyle

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Technology have changed our way of life in a permanent fashion. The Gen Zs might be the first generation in North America who can be called “digital citizens” since they were not part of a world without Internet. Gen Z’s high usage of Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon services should be worrisome given how big they have become. The tech giants are known to use their size to strangle competition or using foul business practices to maintain and grow their influence, at the same time causing problems such as digital addiction, mental health, small business harm, and consumer privacy. Government has not gone unnoticed; presidential candidates such as Elizabeth Warren have demanded a break up of these tech giants. If breakups happen, Gen Z’s way of life will change, for the good.

It’s almost impossible to imagine today’s college students without Instagram profiles or their selfie culture. Instagram have grown in popularity with college students, where 36% of Gen Z’s choose Instagram as their top choice of social media platform over 26% who prefer Facebook [1]. Instagram can currently boast over 1 billion monthly active users [2], where 64% of these belong to the age bracket 18-29 [3]. Many are aware of Facebook’s recent scandals with privacy and data sharing to third parties. As such, a breakup of Facebook and Instagram might see the death of the Facebook platform in the long run since the younger userbase are on Instagram. College students may have to worry less that their Instagram browsing activity will be known by Facebook.

Furthermore, Google (formally known as Alphabet Inc) might see its corporation split in different sectors. Both its search engine and YouTube have become essential for college students to access information and for entertainment purposes. YouTube alone has over 70 million users in the age between 18-34 [4]. If YouTube were to break away from Google, it is uncertain what the user experience with ads impact is but students the benefit is their YouTube data is separated from Google. Android OS holds only 39% of Gen Z’s market share versus 59% for iPhone [5]. Without Google integration, users will also loose the seamless connection between their phone and Google services, making the user experience less appealing than that of the iPhone with Apple services.

We may see more college students sporting iPhones with an Android breakup.

When it comes to Apple, Apple Music might be a contender to become its own company. With over 60 million users [6], and allegations from Spotify of foul play, Congress might rule that Apple Music is to be broken from Apple. This might help to diversify the music streaming industry but currently Apple Music have more Gen Z users than Spotify; 19% of Gen Zs use Apple Music versus 17% use Spotify [7]. With a breakup, many speculate streaming subscription prices may rise.

Amazon has also turned into the store for Gen Zs, where 50% say it’s their favorite website [8]. At the extreme of antitrust, Amazon might see a complete breakup from all of its acquisitions in recent years. The online retailer has turned from books to conglomerate fairly quickly given its success to sell and ship different goods at affordable prices around the world. The Prime streaming service might also take a hit, but not in the same manner. 51% of Gen Z’s stream at least 1 hour of video every day [9], so their behavior are more geared towards streaming than other platforms of entertainment. However, one of the best selling points of Prime is their integrated services combined with Amazon. If this was removed, Prime might struggle to keep their Gen Z audience, as they would most likely change to the streaming service providing the most titles per dollar. This break up might be the death of the Amazon streaming service among Gen Z’s.

These changes will have a serious impact on Gen Z behavior and consumption of tech services. Some might see an improvement of their social media platforms, whereas others might see their favorite store destroyed. The upcoming battle within tech would therefore be to see who could fill the gaps that might be created when Congress decides to regulate the industry, and who might get the short attention span of Gen Z’s or future generations.

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