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Silicon Valley Values Shift To Customersploitation 244

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-being-treated-like-cattle-is-fun dept.
theodp writes "Bill Davidow is the real Silicon Valley deal. Commenting on how Silicon Valley has changed over the decades, Davidow is not impressed, dishing out harsh words for Facebook, Apple, Google, and others. 'When corporate leaders pursue wealth in the winner-take-all Internet environment,' concludes Davidow, 'companies dance on the edge of acceptable behavior. If they don't take it to the limit, a competitor will. That competitor will become the dominant supplier — one monopoly will replace another. And when you engage in these activities you get a different set of Valley values: the values of customer exploitation.'"
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Silicon Valley Values Shift To Customersploitation

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  • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:54AM (#40467455)
    come on - give me a break.
    • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:57AM (#40467495)

      The incentive to create a business is to make money. Once your market saturation crosses a tipping point, the only way to further increase profits is to exploit, rather than serve your market. So you engage in monopolization, rent-seeking, and so on.

      This is how business has always worked. This is an entirely predictable outcome of basic human nature. It should not be surprising at all. Nor, for the most part, should it be upsetting. We should simply expect that once the businesses get huge like this, we will have to either break them up or heap some government regulation on them in order to protect ourselves from them. We will *always* have to do this, so, let's get busy.

      • by Braino420 (896819)

        We should simply expect that once the businesses get huge like this, we will have to either break them up or heap some government regulation on them in order to protect ourselves from them. We will *always* have to do this, so, let's get busy.

        Government regulation creates monopolies due to regulatory capture. A natural monopoly is limited in its ability to raise prices due to potential and indirect competition. Government monopolies on the other hand...

        More info can be found in The Machinery of Freedom

        • A natural monopoly is limited in its ability to raise prices due to potential and indirect competition. Government monopolies on the other hand...

          Only if a small startup can eat your lunch. Good luck competing with Google without a billion dollars worth of hardware and at least 2 years of web crawling to fill your search database.

          • by cpu6502 (1960974)

            >>>Only if a small startup can eat your [monopoly]

            You mean like Google?
            In the 90s they were the "small startup" you describe, and they faced-off against the mighty monopoly that is Microsoft. The monopoly that had killed-off Atari, Commodore, DR-DOS, OS/2, Netscape. (Let's also include Apple which was not a startup but was definitely small.)

            Now both Google and Apple are whipping MS's butt in the operating system/browser market (Android, iOS, webkit). No monopoly lasts forever not even Microsoft

            • by scot4875 (542869)

              You mean like Google?
              In the 90s they were the "small startup" you describe, and they faced-off against the mighty monopoly that is Microsoft.

              How the fuck was Google ever in direct competition with Microsoft before Bing and Android? Microsoft barely had any presence in the web search engine sphere, and Google had basically no presence elsewhere. Even if you count browsers, Microsoft had pretty much ceded that market to anyone who wanted it by not updating IE6 for about 8 years, because nobody making browsers was a threat to their core business anymore.

              You'll also notice that Google didn't start directly encroaching on Microsoft's territory unti

              • by cpu6502 (1960974)

                A distinction that matters not. YOU claimed a monopoly like Microsoft had over the OS and Web browser markets can never be defeated by other companies. Google & Apple (and to a lesser extent: Mozilla) have demonstrated your claim to be false.

            • Microsoft were only in a monopoly position in search and browser due to their monopoly in desktop OS

              Google trumped them in search and Browser by being better, I agree, but were helped by European laws subverting MS's monopoly position

              Apple beat them by changing the rules, they are still a very poor second in desktop OS, but sidestepped this completely by moving to mobile/portable

              MS still has a monopoly position on desktop OS, it's just the market has moved from this and so MS who did not adapt has shrunk o

            • You mean like Google? In the 90s they were the "small startup" you describe, and they faced-off against the mighty monopoly that is Microsoft.

              What? Microsoft didn't enter the web search market until 2009. So how exactly did Google face Microsoft in the 90s?

              Now both Google and Apple are whipping MS's butt in the operating system/browser market (Android, iOS, webkit). No monopoly lasts forever not even Microsoft which used to have 90% share, but has now dropped to around 50% overall.

              Yeah, especially monopolies which never existed in the first place don't last very long. Microsoft's monopoly in the desktop market is still strong at 85+% worldwide. It's true Microsoft lost its web browser monopoly but only because they didn't bother to improve MSIE for almost a whole decade. Also, the monopoly was broken by free software (Mozilla Firefox), not by a startup or any other for-p

            • >>>Only if a small startup can eat your [monopoly]

              You mean like Google? In the 90s they were the "small startup" you describe, and they faced-off against the mighty monopoly that is Microsoft.

              No, they faced-off with Yahoo! back when Yahoo was a verb. They mostly won because they were quicker and better with streamlined front page and better algorithms and Yahoo didn't change in time.

        • by oxdas (2447598)

          I think you have it backwards. Monopolies survive in spite of government regulation due to regulatory capture. All profit seeking companies want to become a monopoly because that is the state of highest profitability. Many companies will use whatever means to further their pursuit of monopoly status. This includes using the government to create barriers to entry for competitors or force competitors from the market. If you removed government regulations, it would not change that all companies are trying

          • by Braino420 (896819)

            I think you have it backwards. Monopolies survive in spite of government regulation due to regulatory capture.

            I'm talking about markets where there existed no monopoly, but government regulation has created them or forced current competitors not to compete (see US airline regulation, in this case competing directly over price of inter-state travel). The wikipedia page for regulatory capture is full of them. The problem is, the industires the government hopes to regulate have more of an interest in the regu

      • by Tom (822)

        This is how business has always worked.

        No, it isn't. This is how for most of history, a tiny fraction of business has worked. Lately, that has turned into the primary business philosophy. So much that I fear I have to remind everyone of the other one, that was dominant for most of history: Stable, reliable profits, not increasing profits. When you operate a small family business - the kind that 99.999% of all businesses ever in history have been like - then your incentive is to feed your family and generally earn a living. Growth is nice, but it

        • by shentino (1139071)

          What actually happened is that the .001 percent that are willing to lie cheat and steal to get ahead kicked everyone else in the balls and stabbed them in the back. They rose to the top by knocking everyone else down.

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        Oh, another crazy guy with genius ideas about breaking businesses, about what companies 'always working' the way he believes.

        Absent government there is an actual free market, and in it there are no barriers to entry into the market in any specific industry that are unnatural (laws). There are only natural barriers to entry - lack of savings and investment, lack of ability, lack of knowledge, etc.

        Companies do not become monopolies absent government, if they are successful, it's because they are good at prov

    • come on - give me a break.

      After the r and before the s?

    • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:31AM (#40467923)

      Sufferin' succotash, my brain will *only* imagine the word "Customerspliotation" as being spoken by Daffy Duck in a spray of saliva.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      come on - give me a break.

      Really. They've been working toward this goal for years. There was some doubt whether they'd achieve it after the dotcom bubble burst in 2000. It's called "Making A Profit" which only a few have flirted at for years.

    • The insult to injury is that it's not really "customer" exploitation at all. Most of Silicon Valley's customers are companies buying advertising. It's consumersploitation. Working at a huge MNC myself, I'm keenly aware of the difference between customers and consumers.

    • awesome counter argument.
  • Customerspliotation? (Score:5, Informative)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:54AM (#40467467)
    Customerspliotation? Are you fucking kidding me? Blogosphere was bad enough. Internet, stop making up stupid words.
    • by gmuslera (3436)
      would you prefer cyberslavery?
    • by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:05AM (#40467575) Journal

      Oh, it wasn't the Internet (particularly). The portmanteau bastardized blechery in the summary and title here aren't in TFA at all.

      It was just world-famous Slashdot editorial practice at work. They can't rein in dupes, create an unbiased and non-sensationalist headline, or fix actual errors in copy from submitter (or themselves)... but the sure as hell can coin pointless and cringe-inducing neologisms.

      Slashdot editing at its shining best.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Customerspliotation? Are you fucking kidding me? Blogosphere was bad enough.

      You'd hate my stratodoober [slashdot.org] then!

      I have to agree about Customerspliotation and Blogosphere. The guy who coined "blogosphere" got what he deserved, last I heard he was homeless. Lets hope whatever dimwit coined customerspliotation comes to his senses, but I doubt it.

    • by manicb (1633645)

      In fairness, *sploitation is a pretty accepted formula in exploitation films. Fairly amusing list in the index of this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploitation_film

      One could argue that they are making an insightful point by drawing an ingenious parallel between the exploitation of trends and base desires with the rejection of artistic merit for by film-makers for public consumption to the exploitation of the public's addiction to internet services in order to make money out of advertisers who... wait

  • PC's caught on was because IBM and other "enterprise" suppliers charged ridiculous amounts for their hardware and locked in customers with support contracts and being the only source for spare parts and upgrades

    • by vlm (69642)

      Those were customers, receivers of a at least sorta customized product or service. Also, in general, corporations not lowly humans. Consumers are a much more lowly social class. Like the difference between a diner eating while seated at a gourmet restaurant, vs the maggots in the dumpster eating the leftovers the diners didn't want. Its a social class thing.

      • by alen (225700) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:14AM (#40467691)

        nobody is forcing you to use facebook, google, twitter or any free internet service. i use them because i get value out of them.

        oh noes, facebook knows i liked the page of some women's perfume my wife likes. its so evil the perfume maker may even send me a custom coupon before my wife's birthday because they will have her info as well.

    • I'm not sure that's a good comparison. What you describe is simple competition...supply a cheaper product that gets the job done and get that business. What he's describing is quite different. Actually the use of the term "customer" in this whole context seems a little grey to me. These companies real "customers" are the ones paying for add revenue, not those being exploited.
      • I have never purchased anything from Google. I use their email and search engine and let them crawl its content so I can be pitched with some fairly unobtrusive ads. I guess I am a viewer or a user. Maybe even a mark. I am a Microsoft customer. They do push stuff at me and I push back. But then so do car salesmen, and the guy haunting the men's department at Macy's. It is, and always has been, a caveat-emptor kind of world. Basically, most people seem up to it and rarely get fleeced with everyday purchase

    • by Sique (173459)

      No, PCs caught on, because their computing power and extensability was enough to fulfill a special need centralized systems weren't fit for: Doing your own spreadsheet at your desk, writing something to be edited heavily later, playing some games, combine arbitrary software adapted to your ideas how to work or recreate. The whole notion of "personal computing" was diametral to the centralized IT shop with the big irons serving multiple terminals. PCs weren't eating into IBM's or DEC's revenues. Only when th

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Huh?? PCs were around before the IBM PC, although they were called "microcomputers" back then. The IBM PC was a hit because IBM designed and manufactured it, and the mantra was "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM". IBM pretty much wiped out every other microcomputer manufacturer except Apple after that, for almost ten years when Compaq cloned IBM's BIOS and produced a faster, more full-featured, cheaper PC that would run all the programs IBM's PC did.

      IBM PCs never locked customers in with support contract

      • These spare parts were always commodities, and as soon as Compaq came along you could put an IBM board into a Compaq and vice-versa with no problem whatever.

        That's not quite true. The original Compaq PCs were *not* plug compatible with the original IBM PCs. Also, IBM moved beyond the ISA bus to MCA bus, which was, most certainly, proprietary. At the same time, Compaq was pushing the EISA bus which was almost as (un)successful (at least in consumer terms -- the Corps bought lots of MCA and EISA hardware) as the MCA bus.

        But I guess that was so long ago you've forgotten the bus wars.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>the mantra was "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM". IBM pretty much wiped out every other microcomputer manufacturer except Apple after that, for almost ten years when Compaq cloned IBM's BIOS.....

        You make it sound like the IBM PC was instantly dominant when it was released (1981) but that wasn't the case. It wasn't until six years later that the PC (and clones) became the #1 selling computer. Prior to that point it was the Commodore 64 (1983-86) and the Atari 800 (1981-82) that were the be

    • by Hatta (162192)

      PCs caught on because clone makers *didn't* charge ridiculous amounts for their hardware and didn't lock in customers with support contracts, etc.

    • by sjames (1099)

      No, PCs caught on because the clone manufacturers jumped in and created a sizable market with plenty of competition. That allowed consumers to afford them.

      At the same time, there was the true blue PC sold by the suit and tie brigade to convince corporate America that it was a 'serious' product and not just a consumer toy.

    • PC's caught on because they were made from off the shelf hardware, and so could be made by multiple completing companies, and so were cheap ....

      IBM designed them, and sold them for huge amounts, until someone realised they could undercut IBM ...

  • by richg74 (650636) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:59AM (#40467517) Homepage
    My first reaction to this article was a wry smile" "I think I've heard this story before." I spent 30+ years working in IT on Wall Street, and saw that industry change from relationship-oriented to a almost complete focus on short-term transactions. ("What have you done for me today?") IN both industries, there is a good deal below the surface that isn't visible, easily or at all, to the customer; that the customer often ends up getting screwed shouldn't really surprise anyone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by alen (225700)

      a customer supplier relationship means that you buy enough crap and send large commissions to the sales guy for simply filling out some paperwork. it only exists until someone starts selling similar products for a lot less and then your PHB starts asking why are we paying $30,000 for a server or whatever when someone else is selling the same for half the price.

      i've seen the same thing except i've noticed a lot of things get commoditized and some are still higher end where a sales person is needed.

      ta

  • Not likely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek (5680) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @10:59AM (#40467521) Homepage

    How are the exploited if they are signing up willingly? Trying to negate personal responsibility and play it off on the "evil corporation" is more played out than the buzzwords Davidow uses in his "blog."

    I agree companies take things a bit too far at times but like a wise man once said "It's a crime to let a sucker hang on to his money." I feel no worse for people being "exploited" by these companies than I do the banks that gambled on them.

    • You can be too stupid to know you're being exploited.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        It has little to do with stupidity. The problem is that you do not -- CANNOT -- know what you are "paying" in this voluntary transaction because it's all trade secrets. Thus we are being constantly manipulated in ways we're not aware of.

        Anyways, the idea that any exchange is OK if it is voluntary, is bunk. Somebody choosing to do something only establishes one thing - that it was the best option available to them at the time. The much larger question is whether they had any good options in the first p

    • Re:Not likely (Score:5, Insightful)

      by StatureOfLiberty (1333335) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:22AM (#40467809)

      "How are the exploited if they are signing up willingly?"

      I agree. But, I would add this.

      We have been busy educating the perfect consumer. One who always sees a want as being a need. One who can't perceive true value. One who cannot weigh risk vs. benefit. One who asks no questions and just forks over the money. Preferably in some recurring revenue fashion.

      We are educating perfect voters too. No analytical skills. Just cheerleaders willing to forward stupid emails and keep up with today's talking points at most. Then pull the straight ticket lever come election day. It is really sad.

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        Yeah, and thus democracy is a gateway to tyranny. People will absolutely give up their freedoms for a little bit of convenience or some free cheese in a mousetrap, but they can't even understand that they stepped into that mousetrap.

    • by kheldan (1460303)
      Because they have been brainwashed into believing that their lives aren't "complete" without those things!
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I agree companies take things a bit too far at times but like a wise man once said "It's a crime to let a sucker hang on to his money." I feel no worse for people being "exploited" by these companies than I do the banks that gambled on them.

      A wise man? No, that's only the wisdom of a theif. I'll bet you were rooting for Madoff when he was on trial.

      You know who says "It's a crime to let a sucker hang on to his money"? Con artists. I only hope that you'll be suckered by one, you'll change your tune when you a

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      How are the exploited if they are signing up willingly? ... I agree companies take things a bit too far at times but like a wise man once said "It's a crime to let a sucker hang on to his money." I feel no worse for people being "exploited" by these companies than I do the banks that gambled on them.

      Here's the counterargument put forward by Elizabeth Warren years before she was remotely considering running for political office: As a classroom exercise at Harvard Law, the prof and students took standard EULAs and credit card contracts and tried to analyze them. They couldn't. If a room full of lawyers can't understand a contract, how the heck is an average person supposed to understand what they're signing up for?

      The usual response to that is "but the average person could go with the company that doesn'

  • This is why we have internet bubbles. If you try and cheat your way to the top, the people will simply shift away from you. If value is non-existent in a service or product, the people will not buy it (even if it's free). If you keep fooling them, eventually there will be nobody left with money to fool, or the ones you fooled will ignore future false promises. Millions of Facebook users don't realize they are working for Facebook but not being paid, because Facebook earns all it's money based on the informa

    • by drharris (1100127)
      They may be working for Facebook, but there is a return on the work. That return is an electronic social connection service that is fairly unique, albeit mostly because of the current momentum. There *is* value provided by all the employees on the back end of Facebook, even if it does cost the users something other than money- their Privacy. But, you are right on about the bubble shifts. The Internet changes quickly. Facebook is always pushing the extent of which their users will cooperate. They do ru
    • Don't you realize now that FB has gone public, the people that matter have already made their money?

      Any further profits are just gravy now. Watch as things get worse and worse as the second and third waves come to feed at the trough. And when the hogs have been fully slopped, it's gonna be straight down the toilet.

      And when they finally go down for good, getting your data off of MegaUpload's servers is going to look like a walk in the park compared to trying to retrieve all your photos, videos, inane rambl

  • ... Silicon Valley either would not exist or would have morphed into a university town or some non-academic research center.
  • Define 'exploited' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Picass0 (147474) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:15AM (#40467705) Homepage Journal

    Some people at slashdot look at Apple and it's walled garden app store and feel like Apple is creating a trapped audience who can only download what Apple feels is OK.

    And they are right. But some people who want a simple "it just works" device are willing to accept that model and they don't care about concepts like open source.

    I'll extend that to many of IT professionals who have spent years getting the dreaded "my computer is broken" phone calls. They have pointed friends and family in Apple's direction because... it's just works.

    Grandma doesn't build her own kernel. She doesn't see a walled garden. She sees a device that works without throwing a ton of alarming messages at her.

    • by Tom (822)

      I agree on that.

      Whether you like Apple or not, they have a different business model from Google and Facebook. For Apple, you are the customer. For Google and Facebook, you are the product they sell. That's an important difference.

    • It's becoming less of a PC (in terms of being customizable) and more of an appliance. Just the kind of mindset that people want, actually. People want something that turns on and does the job with little fuss. Just like Consoles, washing machines, microwaves, TVs, etc. People want to focus on the results, not the the journey it takes to get there.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:20AM (#40467777)

    This is in no way similar to, say, my telephone number being sold or traded by businesses to telemarketers.

    This isn't new, and this isn't unique to IT.

  • Craigslist (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SidIncognito (953776) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:29AM (#40467903)
    The more I think about, the more impressed I am by the Craigslist model. There is no constant addition of features just for the sake of appearing to do something or for the sake of growing revenues. That's a service that is truly focused on its users.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Craigslist doesn't really have a model which is applicable to anything other than psuedo-random listings, though. It's the very base level of a useful information repository. I highly doubt they don't restrict adding features and making progress out of a lack of desire to grow revenues, particularly in the face of many of their features getting siphoned off into more dynamic map- and item- type search engines.

    • by radtea (464814)

      That's a service that is truly focused on its users.

      Users? Not a chance. Customers? That is, the people who pay them money? Sure.

      Craigslist is a terrible experience for a number of routine tasks. Their ads are full of scams that could be easily removed by simple filters (how do I know this? I've written the filters for my own use, likely breaking CL's terms of service in the process.)

      Their search capability is so lame as to be almost useless for anything interesting. I've used CL to search for apartments and boats, and my kids have looked at it for jo

  • by Keyslapper (852034) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:32AM (#40467951)
    "Nothing! Because if I take it to small claims court, it will just drain 8 hours out of my life and you probably won't show up and even if I got the judgment you'd just stiff me anyway; so what I am going to do is piss and moan like an impotent jerk, and then bend over and take it up the tailpipe!"
    -- Fletcher (Jim Carrey) "Liar, Liar"

    Different scenario, same outcome.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:34AM (#40467977) Journal
    There's a difference between a customer and a consumer, and I think that is what the article is dancing around. There is a political corrolary to this, the difference between a citizen and a tax payer. We can see how this devolution from citizen/customer to consumer/taxpayer has taken place. A customer has a relationship with the provider and has some agency with the provider. A consumer is more infantilised, more of a "feeder", and has less agency. This also feeds the monopolisation trend he discusses - customers are empowered to go elsewhere, consumers, less so. Consumers are happy with whatever gizmos the monopolists provide them, and have a dramatically different set of expectations than a customer does. Citizens are empowered and informed. They may not be correct (in my vision of the world, but, it takes all kinds...) but they are actively involved with their neighbourhoods, communities, localities and nation-states. Taxpayers are not. Taxpayers are consumers of government services and see themselves as alienated from the systems of service provision. And as consumers, they want what all infantilised consumers want:

    Something for nothing.

    Napster simply provided exactly what the consumer had been demanding all along and what was native to the enframing of digital technology itself: copies of data, for free (or nearly free). Something for nothing. A customer would have been much more wary of such a proposition, but consumers are like honey badgers, they don't give a shit.

    So, as interesting a lament as the article is, in fact, it points at large issues it cannot address (customer v. consumer) and also the disappearance of HP and its way of doing business. My wife worked at HP for 25 years, so I have some insight on this as well. The HP way started to collapse in the 1990s and took a BIG hit in 2001 with Carli Fiorina's incompetent reign at HP 1999 - 2006. She and her cohorts dismantled HP and the HP Way part by part, and basically gutted the company. Now it is basically a subsidiary of Compaq, even though it's called HP, most of the important decisions are coming out of Texas, not Palo Alto. I remember hearing back in 2000 how the HP way was under attack and people lamenting the "good old days" at HP. I think the article has a lot of that nostalgia clouding its view.

    How we get out of the infinite regress of infantile consumerism remains to be seen. I am thinking that when oil production goes into a permanent decline after 2017, that's going to evacuate a lot of wealth that was being pissed away on meaningless junk, and people will have to snap to attention and get on the stick or experience enormous suffering. At that point, the ICT industry will evolve customers and relationships. How that will evolve out of the massive monopolisation process from above seems unlikely, so I would think it will have to come from below as consumers empower themselves back into being customers working with companies to get (work/play/etc.) done, and then become citizens who are compassionate and contributing active members of a society instead of taxpayers griping about "the gubmint".

  • When EVERYONE becomes a patent troll and predatory lawsuit machine are those things still bad? Best case, the whole tech industry will implode into not making or creating or selling ANYTHING preferring instead to make all their money by suing each other continuously and shifting the same unproductive bag and cash back and forth among them.

  • The old HP was a great company, but it was always atypical. Suggesting the there has been a shift because few if any other companies followed Mr. Hewlett's and Mr. Packard's model is a bit of a stretch.
  • by kheldan (1460303) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @11:37AM (#40468005) Journal
    When times get tough, you find out what people are really like. When you're living in times of plenty-for-all, it's easy for people to be kind and generous. The truly good, nice people won't change much, if at all, but the rest? The pretty mask and the kid-gloves come off. Businesses are run by people, and they reflect who those people really are.
  • That when you look at IT related job offers in the Silicon Area it is hard to find something that is NOT "advanced breakthrough customer advertisement mobile targeting management" platform (in the cloud of course)...

    And this is quite boring in the end, and soul crunching, what self respecting geek really wants to do this, of course making money is cool, but spending your life....

    so where are the really interesting companies ....

    • What your witnessing is but a small portion of a much larger picture. You're seeing the transfer of wealth from this nation to 3rd world countries that can do our jobs at a fraction of a cost. Or to put it in another way, you simply can not have a nation of consumers if said nation isn't producing any work. So until our own wealth dries up (and it has been), Silicon valley will not be focusing their advertisements overseas yet. By the time they do, it will be too late to compete in that market.

      Now, apply th

  • Google and facebook haven't tried to keep their business model a secret. They provide services to me for "free" (in terms of actual dollars) in exchange for using my personal information to create more precisely targeted advertising. So far, I feel that I have benefited from this arrangement, so I'm not sure how I am being "exploited." Does the author believe that facebook and google benefit "too much" relative to the amount that I benefit? How can he tell? Shouldn't I be the one to decide that? (Actu
  • Was it so hard to write "Silicon Valley Values Shift To Customer Exploitation"?
  • Everyone will use this as an argument against capitalism and libertarianism. As if we lived in a truly capitalist or libertarian society. Hell, we're not even in a true democracy by it's very definitional.

    Capitalism only works as intended when unfettered by regulation AND it is relatively transparent. Unfortunately our economic system is drowning in regulation and most of that regulation does nothing more than obscure the true market. All regulation of financial markets should be for the sole purpose of inc
  • All unilateral contracts are, by definition, exploitative of the party not in control of the contract terms; Think cell phone contracts.

    noted, "customersploitation" is an abjectly moronic term. I prefer the normal pronunciation myself; to quote one B. B. Rodriguez, "the 'X' makes it sound cool."
  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @01:56PM (#40469873) Homepage Journal

    You are a marketable data point. That's all. You're not their customer, or even their consumer. You're their unpaid intern, creating content for their benefit, so that more marketable data-points join the hive-mind.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Wednesday June 27, 2012 @04:26PM (#40471691) Journal

    while I agree Facebook, Apple, MS and others are just about making money, Google isn't.

    Google has been about making products for people. some have been miss, and others have been a great hit. Sure, they make money from Advertising, yet before them, search engines sucked.

    They made a phone OS that is a big success, yet they aren't charging phone manufactures a tax to use their OS or another phones OS. Can you say the same about MS?

    Look, I might get labled a Google fanboy, but all of the companies listed in this article, they are the only one who seems to actually care about their customers and the products they are working on.

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