The 'big five' could destroy the tech ecosystem

Foto: AP/Brynn Anderson

How big can the largest tech companies get? How completely can they come to dominate the economy? The "big five" -- Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon -- now have a combined valuation of over $3.3 trillion, and make up more than 40 percent of the value of the Nasdaq 100 index. As the digital economy continues to grow faster than the old economy, it's hard to see what can stop these juggernauts. Unless reality intrudes.

After all, what exactly is their business? Who are their customers? What role do they play in the economy? Each answer points toward some limit on the size, scale and profitability of these giants...

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