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Deepanshu Khandelwal .

Not sure how many of you saw the #USCongress' grilling of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google CEOs. But some really intriguing revelations came out of it. Like Zuckerberg talking about Instagram as a threat during its acquisition.

I feel India too should start looking at a more modern way of regulating these ever expanding internet companies, all of whom seem to have an unspoken monopoly in the space they operate in. Let us debate.

https://thetechportal.com/2020/07/30/zuckerberg-considered-instagram-a-threat-at-the-time-of-acquisition-new-emails-reveal/?fbclid=IwAR1Ve3o-RwaVMpwbsJKaf_zreZWz2zBLb-P6KuHUz24EV4OoGGjyyqCQbFE

Originally Posted Here
20 Comments

Nihal Hassan

An acquisition is the most likely happy exit for founders and investors. Most acquisitions are to subvert a threat or to claim more market share. If internet companies are blocked from getting acquired, why would anyone found companies? There are so many non-transactional internet companies which cannot turn a profit.

Deepanshu Khandelwal

So are you suggesting that entrepreneurs are founding internet companies only to get acquired?
As for your other part, there are so many internet companies that can (some already are) turn a profit. Instagram's case is exactly that, and hence the scrutiny.
The platform was on a rise, was gaining massive popularity and was on the verge of raising bigger investments and ultimately become an independent entity.
But Facebook came in with a number too good to be true and the founders had to cave in. (You should read the entire FTC investigation of that time)
Yahoo tried to acquire Google several times (at least I know of 2). Yahoo was a giant at that time, but Google relented and became a bigger company, independently. What it is doing today is a different story though.

Nihal Hassan

When I said 'most' you heard 'only'.

Turning profit in B2B is easier than on consumer apps. A DTC brand can also be profitable. But pure internet consumer apps hardly make money in their first 2 years. There are several models but the biggest motivation is an acquisition. Investors don't get anything if the company becomes profitable and stays that way forever. So founders will be pushed to capture as much market share using the revenue or by raising more.

A handful IPO.

Amit Baliga

I was thinking the same yesterday while watching this - what if say, Ambani or VSS or even Tata is called to depose like this? The questions were fcuking blunt and Zuck was shivering in one of those:DEven the mighty Bezos misspoke by his own admission!

Deepanshu Khandelwal

True. This entire system of congressional hearings, with blunt, to-the-point questions needs to really happen in India right away. We are already in the age of total monopoly in not just tech, but a lot of other sectors. These hearings can be a morale booster for innovators who wish to come up with newer, better ideas in the same space as these giants.

Ajay Mallareddy

Lol what? Lack of regulations is why internet businesses grew at a near exponential rate. It is amazing thay people who are in India and have seen the dangers of nonsensical regulations are clamoring for more.

Facebook cannot force anyone to sell. Having more money doesn't mean their product will be superior. Google Plus bombed. Orkut failed. If Facebook wanted to launch a competitor to instagram that's their right. And no one held a gun to their head and asked instagram to sell. They were afraid of Facebook competing in the same space and decided to sell.

Zain Siddiqui

Most of the questions were stupid. Like really stupid. The hearing was a waste of time for everyone. Nothing useful came out of it, except to learn that more stringent regulations will be needed in the future and that it was fun to see Zuck and Pichai shit scared because all the Republicans were piling onto them. Cook and Bezos were just having fun.

Amit Baliga

is asking a question like 'Will you tailor your stuff to help Joe Biden win like you did in 2016 for Hillary' by a Senator to a top tech CEO live in a public forum, stupid / waste of time? And the Amazon bookseller case? Very easy to criticize and say it was stupid but when we hear Google fcuks our privacy or Amazon bulldozers SMEs, we are the first one to cry hoarse. Remember the laws are a century old, so this was a brilliant start to stay the least. And yes, couple of questions could have been sharpened.

Nikhil Jathar

100% agree. This hearing was designed for the election 2020, nothing more.

James Palmer

Of course he did, that's why they acquired them. This is why companies buy companies.

Deepanshu Khandelwal

I would suggest you read the entire email transcripts of the conversation that took place between Zuck and his team.

Rahul Rajvanshi

Blunt questions ? To the point ?
Acquisition because instagram was a threat was wrong?
God I hate this morning already

Amit Baliga

did you see the session and hear the questions?

Rahul Rajvanshi

yes and it was an utter waste of time

Amit Baliga

why? Most of the world feels this is unprecedented and a major initialization step.

Rahul Rajvanshi

The comment above by Ajay answers it very well

Amit Baliga

Exact reason why I asked you if you seen/heard the session. It didn't focus only on FB - there were blunt questions with proof asked of Bezos and Pichai too, which is unprecedented there.

Rahul Rajvanshi

I watched the whole session with Mark.
I will tell you what my problem with these sessions are
1. These guys don't understand how tech and business operates
2. The point of this is not to have a discussion at all its always comes out like an attack

Amit Baliga

It was round robin types, so you would have watched a few for others too - other than when Bezos' feed failed. Yes, Senators being non-domain guys are just initiating this basis previous data - real game starts now onwards. Didn't understand your second point.

Deepanshu Khandelwal

To the questions that you pointed out:
1. Do you understand Facebook’s tech in depth ? Do you understand in depth as to how Facebook’s business operates ?
2. It is not an attack. US Congress is the only forum where such questions can beasked. Journalists have stopped doing that altogether, even in the US. So who will ask these questions then ?

Noone is stopping them from doing business. It is a question of “how” you do that business. And lawmakers are not there to understand tech and business, their job is to understand and question the impact these companies have on the public. Nobody elects lawmakers because they understand tech and business. Lawmakers are elected so that they can raise the right questions to the right people at the right time.

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