Experience 24 hours without using Big Five services

Technology reporter Abigail Buchanan tried stopping using all services from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and Apple but realized it wasn't easy.

"Easy", thought Abigail Buchanan, a reporter for the Telegraph , as she began the challenge of staying away from the Big Five technologies - the term used to refer to Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and Apple. She is allowed to use technology products from other brands, except for the 5 names mentioned above.

Applications displayed on a smartphone. Photo: Bao Lam

Because he did not know all the services Big Five was providing, Buchanan used a browser plug-in called Big Tech Detective, which could remove all services related to the above company.

"Immediately after installing Big Tech Detective, browsing the web is impossible because Chrome, Edge, Safari browsers are all in the restricted list. Even when downloading another browser, usage still fails because it uses resources provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Facebook or Microsoft," said Buchanan.

She cannot use Gmail and popular text editing tools like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so work stops all day. She also couldn't call an Uber to get around. The ride-hailing platform is not part of the Big Five, but uses Google Maps, forcing her to hitchhike from friends.

Online entertainment options have also become difficult, as Netflix and Disney+ are limited because both use Amazon's cloud technology, while Spotify uses Google services. "Scanning" news and paying bills cannot be done because Buchanan uses an iPhone and Apple Pay.

Buchanan describes himself as a "nostalgist" when he replaced his current iPhone with a Nokia 2660 flip model. "The pleasant feeling of nostalgia only happened for the first 5 minutes, then it was very annoying because it took several minutes to carefully compose a short text message," she said.

In fact, even when users stay away from Big Tech products and services, the DNA of these companies is still present on technology products. According to statistics from analyst firm Canalys in January, Amazon not only accounts for 65-70% of sales in the US e-commerce market, but is also the world's largest cloud technology provider with 31 % market share in 2023. Meanwhile, global search traffic passing through Google last year also reached 91%.

"I'm glad the challenge only lasts 24 hours," said Buchanan. "I admit I'm not up to the challenge, because for a moment, I still use the services of the Big Five. A life without the tech giants may be possible, but I'm not ready to leave. from that network".

Before Buchanan, another technology reporter, Kashmir Hill, also tried not to use Big Tech's services for 6 weeks by installing a VPN to block software and applications, but failed.

"People are becoming more dependent on Big Tech," Hill said in 2019. "The current Internet environment is so closely tied to companies like Amazon and Google that even competitors have to rely on their services." Surname".

According to Reuters , lawmakers in many countries are "acutely aware" of the dominance of tech giants. In Europe, Apple, Google and Meta are in the antitrust spotlight. Last year, the continent called six companies "gatekeepers" that needed to be regulated, including Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and ByteDance/TikTok. They risk being fined billions of euros if found to be non-compliant with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) - the new antitrust law, which took effect on March 7.

In the US, Apple was sued by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) late last month for market monopoly and smartphone price manipulation. In addition, the company is also being investigated in many places, such as Japan and Korea.

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